South Jersey Salvation Army hopes to collect 10,000 toys for families

The donations will stay in the community and help 4,000 kids have a happy holiday.

Beccah Hendrickson Image
Thursday, December 8, 2022
South Jersey Salvation Army hopes to collect 10,000 toys for families
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At the Salvation Army Camden Kroc Center, the team has made it their goal to collect 10,000 toys by December 15.

CAMDEN, New Jersey (WPVI) -- The Salvation Army in South Jersey is hoping to help thousands of children this holiday season by collecting enough presents for every family who may need extra help.

At the Salvation Army Camden Kroc Center, the team has made it their goal to collect 10,000 toys by December 15.

Part of how the nonprofit plans to achieve its goal is through the iconic bell ringers, often seen outside of big box stores this time of year.

With every dollar dropped in volunteer Liston Polson's bucket outside of the Walmart in Cinnaminson, he rings a little jingle of joy, knowing exactly where the money will go.

"It's really a hard time right now for a lot of people in this country, so whatever I can do to give back, it just makes me happy," said Polson.

The donations will stay in his community and help 4,000 kids have a happy holiday.

"We can't undersell what a toy does for a kid on Christmas Day. It gives happiness, it creates a family moment and a family memory," said Keith Maynor, the major at the Salvation Army Camden Kroc Center.

He says between the pandemic and inflation, families are telling him they're having a harder time affording toys this year.

"We're helping more families this year than any previous year," said Maynor.

The Salvation Army in Camden usually helps around 500 families each holiday. This year, they have requests from 1,700 families.

"It's a choice. Am I going to put food on the table? Am I going to try and find that extra cash for a utility bill, the rent, the mortgage? Or is the kids' toys, is their Christmas going to get squeezed out?" he said.

To help save the holiday, Maynor says they have to find 10,000 toys in the next week.

The goal is that by this time next week, the center's multipurpose room is going to be transformed into Santa's workshop where aisles will be filled with toys and families can come and pick out exactly what they need.

"We're going to have departments based on age, gender, where parents are going to come in here and actually pick out toys for their kids so they can have a Christmas season," said Maynor.

It's a lofty goal that's only possible because of a community that believes in the season of giving.

"This just feels good to do," said Polson.