For many families, the Christmas season is a time to enjoy with family and friends. For families and individuals in need, the Salvation Army of Pittsburg holds a Christmas distribution to aid them. The Salvation Army is not letting COVID-19 stop them and have adjusted to continue to provide for families during the pandemic.
“The Salvation Army has been around Pittsburg for over 150 years and we try to do the most good in our community; thus, in a pandemic there is a lot of need and we want to be sure Christmas is a little brighter for children and families in need,” said Frances Mitchelson, Christmas coordinator for Salvation Army of Pittsburg.
This year, the distribution will operate a little differently, in order to comply with guidelines from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Crawford County. Changes include curbside pickup for registered households during the week of Dec. 14, practiced social distancing, encouraging people to wear masks during curbside pickup in addition to workers wearing them, workers will wear gloves, as well as having sanitizers readily available.
An additional feature this year is introducing a virtual Angel Tree registry for purchasing gifts on the Walmart Registry for Good.
“The online registry through Walmart is a partnership between Salvation Army and Walmart and so that provides an opportunity for families who in the past may have gone to Walmart and picked off an angel from our angel trees and shopped with their family to buy toys for a child in need,” Mitchelson said. “This year, they can do that same option by purchasing them online registry and hey get shipped here to Salvation Army… that’s just an added opportunity for people to shop or donate.”
Mitchelson said they choose popular toys for all the ages they cater to, from zero to 18-year-olds that are still in school. Families and individuals are invited to pre-register at the Salvation Army where each household will receive food, meat vouchers, new blankets, and wrapping paper. Families with children will receive the donated toys as well as stocking, stocking stuffers, socks, stocking cap and gloves, stuffed animals, and books.
“We help anyone that meets our guidelines… based on the federal poverty guidelines,” Mitchelson said. “We give at 150% of the federal poverty guidelines, based on number of people in household and income.”
Signups will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 2 through Friday, Nov. 6 and Monday,
Nov. 9 through Friday, Nov. at the Salvation Army, 307 East 5th Street, Pittsburg. Those pre-registering will need to bring proof of income, residency in Crawford county, and documentation for everyone in household.
“Once they sign up, they’ll get the time for their curbside pickup,” Mitchelson said. “There’s something for everyone.”
There are also “lots of opportunities” to volunteer, according the Mitchelson. Volunteers are needed to help sort toy and gift donations that are received by categories as well as box the toys for families.
“I really enjoy seeing the difference it makes in the community,” said Edith Sigler, senior in music performance, who volunteers with the Honors College Association. “This is my fourth year volunteering with it and every year I learn more about how it affects the people who participate in the program and also how it affects people who volunteer for it…”