FAIRFIELD — The local Salvation Army is trying to gather 10,000 toys for Christmas presents for needy families.
One method is the “Fill the Truck” campaign at Walmart stores. People can buy a toy at a Solano County Walmart and leave it in the cardboard truck containers that sit on pallets at the store entrances. The campaign started Saturday and will go on through next Saturday.
“For many of the families we take care of, what we provide is the only Christmas they’ll get,” said Capt. Jonathan Harvey, the county coordinator for Salvation Army.
A thousand families have signed up to receive the toys and they have an average of three children, Harvey said. The Salvation Army wants to give each child two or three toys.
The first “Fill the Truck” campaign took place last year. It yielded about 150 toys, Harvey said. The Salvation Army also has several other toy drives, with the “Fill the Truck” partnership with Walmart a newcomer.
“We’re hoping over the years, this will be something that continues to grow,” Harvey said.
But this has been a tough season for the Salvation Army, including for its bell-ringing kettle drives, Harvey said. That’s because Thanksgiving came late in November and that means less time to seek donations.
Sometimes, a volunteer is at the “Fill the Truck” location to hand out fliers on the effort to passersby and sometimes not.
“I wish we volunteers here all the time,” Harvey said as he stood by the “Fill the Truck” display at the Fairfield Walmart. “There are a lot of organizations competing for volunteers and a lot of organizations doing great work.”
People wanting to volunteer for the Salvation Army “Fill the Truck” and bell-ringing campaigns can go to www.solanoarmyofhope.org or call 439-7897.
At the Fairfield Walmart, two “Fill the Truck” pallets are located at the eastern entrance to the store. On Saturday afternoon, the containers held games such as Trouble, Connect 4 and Don’t Spill the Beans, as well as Hot Wheels and other toys. But they had room for plenty more toys.
“Every couple of toys is another child taken care of,” Harvey said. “That’s the way we approach it.”
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.