WADSWORTH – It was a cold and rainy day Dec. 8 as eight volunteers from the Salvation Army of Wadsworth stood outside of Wal-Mart for eight hours to collect toys and coats for an event called Fill the Truck, but thanks to some very generous donations, it was a day well spent.
The Salvation Army collected 58 new toys and 12 coats at the event. All of the items will be distributed from The Salvation Army during their coat and toy distribution later this month.
“To the children receiving those items for Christmas, it will certainly all be worthwhile,” said Major Corps Officer Debbra Grace of the Salvation Army. “My opinion was that whatever we were able to collect Saturday was worth it.”
Grace said this was the first year for Fill the Truck, which was conducted by Wal-Mart and The Salvation Army nationally.
“We are hoping it was successful across the nation and that Wal-Mart will make it an annual event,” Grace said.
A donor who wishes to remain anonymous dropped off 12 bicycles during the event. This included six bikes for girls and six bikes for boys all in a variety of sizes.
“This is going to mean just a wonderful Christmas for the 12 kids who receive these bicycles,” said Becky Pataki, an office manager for the Salvation Army and a member of the Salvation Army women’s auxiliary.
Pataki said the donor called the Salvation Army office the day before the event to let volunteers know that he wanted to make this donation. He wanted to see if there was a way that a truck would be available to transport the bicycles to the Salvation Army.
“This is one of those things that Debbra and I call a ‘God Winks’ moment,” Pataki said. “The donor had absolutely no idea that we were having this Fill the Truck event the very next day, but it all worked out so perfectly. The donor made it very clear that he wanted to stay anonymous with this donation.”
Grace said that Anshutz Custom Movers provided the truck that was used to collect and transport the toys and coats. She also added that Wadsworth High School teacher Dwain Kibler and his students made a banner to hang on the truck during the event. Members of The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary and Corps Cadets provided volunteers to man the truck and collect items during the eight-hour event.
“It is wonderful when the community can come together like this and make something like this happen,” Pataki said.
Members of The Salvation Army have said they are trying to offer between 325 and 350 local families with Christmas assistance this year.
For more information or to find out how to donate, contact The Salvation Army at 330-335-2327.