By Mark Rountree
STILLWATER, Okla. —
More than 450 local children will enjoy Christmas a little more — and be a little warmer — as a result of a one-day toy and coat drive Saturday in Stillwater.
The Salvation Army is partnering with Walmart on Perkins Road to host a “Fill the Truck” toy and coat drive from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The event, part of the Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle Campaign, is part of a national one-day event that will include more than 2,500 Walmart stores across the nation.
Shoppers will receive a list of suggested gifts to help fill the truck at the store. The truck will be located in the parking lot outside of the main entrance.
At the end of the day, the Salvation Army will bring the donations to its office at 1101 S. Lowry and distribute the gifts to local children who are signed up with Angel Tree.
“We have more than 450 children in Stillwater and the Payne County area who we’ll be distributing gifts to,” said Salvation Army Capt. Patrishia Knott. “For the children, it’s really whatever people want to buy and donate. They can actually get an angel while they are in the store and purchase some things on it and bring it out to the truck, or they can just buy some toys and bring it out. ... We make sure that all the children get a gift.”
Knott said two Christmas trees will be located near the checkout lines at the Walmart on Perkins Road. Attached to the Angel Tree will be cards on which are written suggested gift purchases for children and more detailed information such as ages, sizes, hobbies, interests and gender.
“We encourage people to get an outfit,” said Knott. “Everyone likes to get clothes for Christmas, and it’s usually needed because (the children) outgrow their clothes. But no kid just wants to get clothes, they love toys too. We hope people fill up the truck, whether it’s bikes or toy trucks or Barbies or diapers or whatever, anything that the kids would need and would like.”
Walmart and Sam’s Club stores will continue to host the Salvation Army’s traditional red kettle and bell-ringer fundraising campaign through Christmas Eve.
Knott said last year, the Salvation Army raised $40,750 locally and more than $46 million nationally.
Knott said all donations to the red kettles will remain in Stillwater and help the Salvation Army provide food, clothing, shelter, financial assistance and other services to more than 3,800 people per year.
“Each year, Walmart is there to help us meet demands and provide a special Christmas to families and individuals who may not otherwise have a Christmas to celebrate,” Knott said.