SALINA — Salinan Shelby Ramos could not refrain from smiling and rejoicing Wednesday as she picked out gifts for her four children in the Salvation Army gymnasium.
Ramos, who admitted having financial issues, said “I wouldn’t have been able to provide a Christmas for my children without this.”
“It’s great what they do, because it really goes a long way and helps out so many families and gives children a good Christmas,” she said.
Ramos was joined Wednesday by more than 325 families who picked gifts for their children during the Salvation Army’s Christmas Fund and Angel Tree distribution day at 1125 N. Santa Fe.
All 525 angels, representing children 12 and younger from families in need, were picked from this year’s trees at the Salina Central Mall.
Additionally, 101 teenagers were given gift cards to purchase needed items, said Captain Lynn Lopez with the Salvation Army.
Each family received two toys, stocking stuffers, a snowman, and ornament and clothes for their children.
Senior citizens who signed up for the food-only option received whole chickens or turkeys, a $20 Dillons gift card and a blanket.
“At some point in all of our lives, we have a little bit of a down time where we might need some help,” Lopez said. “What we do helps to provide hope in someone”s lives that they can provide their family with a good Christmas. To get so many items donated to us is such a blessing and to watch them be a blessing for others is so amazing.”
A helping hand
The 12 members of the Salvation Army’s Advisory Board and 50 students in the Southeast of Saline High School National Honor Society assisted with helping families select toys and load items into their vehicles.
Kallie Albrecht, a senior and president of NHS, was participating in the event for the third straight year.
“Our school is really willing to help people and be a part of our community,” she said. “It’s great to have more responsibilities this year and to be able to help someone who is less fortunate have a great Christmas.”
Albrecht also participates in band, volleyball, softball and the Scholars Bowl.
Fellow senior Rudy Rodriquez, who also is assisting with the event for the third consecutive year, said on Tuesday members of NHS helped at the Salina Emergency Aid Food Bank.
“We’ve been helping out for the past three years, so this year we’ve been kind of getting the underclassmen ready to step up next year,” he said. “It’s always important to be involved in your community and to help others.”
Assisting the elderly
Dave Carr, who received a blanket, Dillons gift card and a whole chicken as part of the food-only option, said he believes in the Salvation Army’s mission.
Carr said he volunteered as a Salvation Army bell ringer for nearly a decade.
“I really appreciate what they do,” he said. “It really helps out people with low incomes. I’m one of them and now I have food to eat and a new blanket.”