"The Christmas Spirit of Giving Is Alive"

A wonderland of toys is tucked away in this former department store in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Moms and dads from all over the area came to fill their carts with presents to go under the tree.  Major James Allison of the Salvation Army said, “Through the Christmas Depot we are able to show, that there is a loving God; that there is a Christ who loves them. That the Christmas spirit of giving is alive and well in Hampton Roads. And their children, who they thought would not have very much for Christmas, will have an abundance of gifts for Christmas.”

In this week-long event, the Salvation Army worked alongside the United States Marine Corps, Toys For Tots, and Operation Blessing, to help parents struggling to provide gifts for their children. Toys for Tots representative, Gunny Sergeant Julio Muniz explained, “Sometimes less fortunate children don’t get the opportunity to get toys, their parents probably have a circumstance where they can not give them that and we want to make sure that every child in America has a Christmas. The biggest peace for me is seeing that parent that’s appreciative and the tears, the water-works, you know and how grateful they are with us, it definitely pays off.”

As vice-president of Operation Blessing’s disaster relief programs, Jody Gettys understands what coming to the Christmas Depot means to these parents. She said, “For us at CBN and for me as a mom to be able to be part of something that gives back in such a huge way to make Christmas possible for families for mothers for single dads for couples right here at home means everything.”      

Karen Stevens is a mother of three.  This past year her husband was laid off from work and his unemployment recently ran out. She didn’t expect much to be under the tree this year.  But today, that all changed. She said,  “We went from making, I mean he was making 30 dollars an hour to zero for a family of five. It means a lot that my kids wake up Christmas morning and have something to open because without it I don’t know what we would have did.”  

Major Allison went on to say, “We pray that as your children open those gifts on Christmas day that they will understand and realize in the opening of those presents just how much God has opened his heart and his love to all mankind so that whosover will, may be saved.”  And Jody Gettys said, “even this morning I was walking into the building and I passed a mom, looked like a single mom she was all by herself. And I saw the smile on her face as she rolled that grocery cart out full of brand new toys, not used toys but brand new toys. And I couldn’t help but think about the dignity she had now as a single mom or as a mom to be able to hand those gifts to her children. They’re not going to know they were a hand-out they’re going to know that mom was able to give us Christmas. Santa Clause came.”

And after they finished filling their carts with gifts, everyone received a full bag of groceries from Operation Blessing. Jody Gettys explained, “The Salvation Army has asked us to provide food for 5000 families. So behind me you see bags of groceries filled with everything for Christmas dinner so that these families can enjoy not only giving Christmas to their kids but sitting around the table enjoying a Christmas lunch or dinner together.” Karen Stevens was very grateful, “I’m absolutely very thankful, very thankful to everybody and anyone who was able to help and donate it is a true blessing.”

Jody Gettys concluded, “We couldn’t do what we do at CBN around the world and right here at home if it wasn’t for the benevolence of our partners. So for those of you who are part of the CBN family, thank you so much because we couldn’t make Christmas possible if it wasn’t for your generosity, your love and your support.”

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