VDT Salvation

Sheila Gray looks through tables of Christmas toys for the perfect gift for three-year-old Malik Thursday at the Salvation Army toy giveaway.

VALDOSTA — Nearly 800 area families will have a merrier Christmas thanks to the local Salvation Army’s annual toy giveaway, which began Tuesday and will continue through today.

With $16,000 in hand, thanks to the 2006 Empty Stocking Fund, Capt. Cindy Jones and other Salvation Army employees braved a local discount store to purchase as many toys as possible for area boys and girls of all ages. Thousands of toys filled the Salvation Army thanks to generous donations that came in from the Outback Riders Toy Drive and other private donors.

In October, low income families in the area signed up to receive toys this season.

This year 798 individuals will be served by the Salvation Army and each person will have the opportunity to shop through the mounds of toys. Each individual will walk away with five items in addition to stocking stuffers, a stuffed animal and a gift card so each family can enjoy a Christmas dinner.

Jones stated that this year the Salvation Army is able to give more toys to each family thanks to an abundance of gifts from the community.

One mom who took advantage of the community’s generosity was Sheila Gray.

“It really mean a lot,” Gray said. “It is good for low income families and it means a lot and really helps everyone out a lot.”

Gray was shopping for mostly educational toys for three-year-old Malik Gray.

Thursday was the Salvation Army’s busiest day for shoppers with the remaining families to be served Friday.

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