Salvation Army Striving To Fill 900 Wish Lists

Salvation Army Striving To Fill 900 Wish Lists

By LIBBY CUDMORE • HOMETOWN ONEONTA

Edition of Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

Captain Hopping holds up a gold coin donated to this year's drive. (Ian Austin/HOMETOWN ONEONTA)
Captain Hopping holds up a gold coin donated to this year’s drive. (Ian Austin/HOMETOWN ONEONTA)

With a record 900 children to care for, Capt. Evelyn Hopping of the Oneonta Salvation Army wants to make sure that not one of them has to go without new toys under the Christmas tree. “It’s important to us that these kids wake up knowing they got something from Santa,” she said.

The Salvation Army oversees two holiday giving programs; the Adopt-a-Family and the Angel Tree. “It seems like we have quite a few more children this year,” she said. “There are so many families who are struggling right now.”

With both campaigns finishing this week, the Salvation Army is hoping last-minute donations come in to assure every child has a happy holiday. “We will buy toys if not everyone is provided for, but we’re hoping we don’t have to,” said Hopping. “We’ve put out a plea hoping more will come in.”

There are 22 families who will receive packages from the Adopt-a-Family program, which encourages businesses to collect wrapped gifts for a single family. “We look for families who have special circumstances, such as losing a job or taking on custody of a grandchild or relative,” said Hopping. “It gives them a little bit of help, and it makes the holiday extra-special for the child.”

The Angel Trees are set up in businesses, banks and grocery stores with lists of what each child wants from Santa. “Most of the kids get exactly what they asked for. We have 15 bikes here to give out, and lots of Barbies and ‘Frozen’ dolls.”

And even the kids get in on the gifting. “One woman came in and told me that her granddaughter collects Monster High dolls, so when she saw that another girl on our Angel Tree wanted one too, she spent her own allowance to pick out a doll, a sweatshirt and put the money left over in a card for the girl,” said Hopping. “What a wonderful way to get a child in the spirit of giving!”

More than 500 families also signed up for the Christmas food basket. “We give them potatoes, stuffing, fruits and vegetables and a gift card for a turkey,” she said. “We also include some soups, pasta and sauce so that families can feed their children.”