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West Palm Beach, FL – Walmart and The Salvation Army announced they are partnering this Christmas season to help provide new toys and coats to local children on Christmas as part of the 122nd Annual Red Kettle Campaign.
The "Fill the Truck" toy drive will be hosted at the following Walmart stores in South Florida on Saturday, Dec. 8.
16205 S Military Trail, Delray Beach, FL 33484 2144 W Indiantown Road, Jupiter, FL 33458 2765 10th Avenue N, Palm Springs, FL 33461
In addition, Walmart and Sam's Club stores will host The Salvation Army's iconic red kettles and bell ringers this holiday season from Friday, November 23 to Monday, December 24, to collect much-needed funds to support the Army's social service at Christmas and year-round.
Last year in Palm Beach County, Walmart and Sam's Club stores helped The Salvation Army raise $305,000 locally, and more than $46 million nationally—nearly one-third of the record $147.6 million raised.
All donations made to the red kettles will remain in Palm Beach County, and help The Salvation Army provide food, clothing, shelter, financial assistance and other services to thousands of people a year.
The "Fill the Truck" event will begin at 9 a.m. and run until 5 p.m. Saturday, and is open to the general public who would like to donate new toys and coats to children who take part in The Salvation Army programs year-round.
Upon arrival, shoppers will receive a list of suggested gifts to help fill the truck at the store. Once the donation receptacle is full, The Salvation Army will bring the donations to West Palm Beach, Lake Worth and Boca Raton and distribute the gifts to local children in need. The collection is expected to provide gifts to more than 6,000 children.
"This holiday season, we're proud to work with The Salvation Army and help provide basic need items like food and clothes to our neighbors in need,", Sylvia Mathews Burwell, president of the Walmart Foundation. "With strong support from our generous shoppers, we know we can bring smiles to more children this Christmas."
This year, the Walmart Foundation also made a $1 million donation to The Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign. The donation will be split among the four Salvation Army Territories and support feeding programs, including meal programs for youths. Last year, The Salvation Army helped serve more than 125,000 meals to local children and adults in need.
Notably, 81 percent of Salvation Army programs saw an increase in need from families with children due to the recession in 2011, according to "Growing up in a Downturn," a Salvation Army report from earlier this year. The report also found that 56 percent of Salvation Army youth programs were operating at or beyond capacity, which includes feeding, education, athletic, artistic and religious programs.
As a result of the recession's lingering impact, The Salvation Army expects the need to continue with this Christmas season. "The Salvation Army is excited to partner with Walmart. Each year, Walmart is there to help us meet demands and provide a special Christmas to families and individuals who may not otherwise have a Christmas to celebrate," said Major Thomas McWilliams, Area Commander for Palm Beach County.
From its humble origin as a fundraiser started by a Salvation Army captain in San Francisco in 1891, the Red Kettle Campaign has grown into one of the most recognizable and important charitable campaigns in the United States. As part of the campaign, more than 25,000 Salvation Army workers and volunteers spread throughout the country to ring bells daily and solicit spare change donations to the iconic red kettles from holiday shoppers.
In 2011, the campaign raised more than $147.6 million nationwide, a new record supported by the public's nickels, dimes, quarters, dollars, and credit cards (and the occasional diamond ring or gold tooth) all collected and used to help people in the communities where they were raised. Last year, the funds helped The Salvation Army provide food, clothing, toys and other assistance to 30 million Americans in need.