ST. CHARLES – Maj. Jon Miller expects The Salvation Army’s Toy Shop to serve more families this holiday season, and the St. Charles Swim Team is helping ensure every child has a gift.
Members of the swim team have been collecting presents for the past two weeks and already are halfway to their goal of collecting 500 or more toys by Dec. 10. Anna O’Malley, an eighth-grader who helped lead the toy drive, said it feels good to be so close to the goal.
“I just wanted to help the community and help support The Salvation Army,” she said.
Anna said she has led similar efforts through 4-H. Her father, Chris O’Malley, said she was looking for a way to give back, so he suggested helping The Salvation Army.
“They really need help with their annual holiday toy drive,” he said, adding that families with children up to age 17 are in need of holiday gifts.
Miller said The Salvation Army is expecting more families to participate in the Toy Shop program this year. Families can register until Dec. 12, and Miller said about 400 families were expected to be signed up as of Wednesday.
Anna said there’s room for anyone from the community to get involved by donating a toy on behalf of the St. Charles Swim Team to The Salvation Army on Seventh Avenue in St. Charles.
Miller said last year, The Salvation Army served a little more than 400 families through the Toy Shop program. He said toys from the swim team will help immensely.
“We have quite a number of families registered, and we’re still taking registration,” Miller said. “There are quite a number of families who benefit from the Toy Shop program. We’ve already found that more families are signing up than the previous year, so that will be a blessing.”
Miller said there’s usually a shortage of presents for teenagers, and gift cards always are welcome. He said each family usually gets three gifts for each child along with stocking stuffers.
“This is the first of, what we would like to think, many St. Charles Swim Team toy drives for The Salvation Army,” Anna said.
For information about the St. Charles Swim Team, visit www.stcswim.com.