TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The Salvation Army of Tucson is in desperate need of a building ahead of its annual Christmas toy distribution event.
The organization prepares two months in advance for the popular event that helps make the holidays brighter for area families.
The Salvation Army needs a building as soon as possible to be occupied from November to the end of the December. They’re looking for a building that’s 10,000 square feet or more in a centralized location near downtown or on the east side.
They’re hoping to use the space free of charge, so they can allocate as much money as possible to the toy drive. The old hotel the organization used last year is now the permanent home of another organization.
The space would give room to volunteers to sort and organize the toys donated by the community. Not having a building could limit the number of families the organization helps this year.
"It would be a smaller scale. It wouldn’t be like what we collected last year. Last year we collected 17,000 gifts and we gave those gifts to all 3,500 children that we helped out. This year, we’re looking to (give to) 4,000 children,” Public Information Officer Corey Leith said.
Each year, the organization helps make Christmas brighter for thousands of families. Volunteers like Lynne Jensen hope someone steps in to help.
"We really need it because if we don’t have a building to do this, it’s not going to happen on the scale that we’d like,” she said.
Jensen said having the extra space would allow the organization to give families variety by organizing the toys by gender and age. Fellow volunteer Rita Beal says watching the parents pick out toys for their families is heartwarming.
"If you ever get a chance to give them a bike, it’s like, they just start crying and you just want to cry with them because you’re so happy,” she said.