Shopping can continue for a cause on ‘Giving Tuesday’

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The deals of Black Friday and Cyber Monday may be wrapping up, but there’s still another chance to shop and make a difference at the same time. Giving Tuesday follows Cyber Monday every year to help people donate to charities around the world, including our region.

Click here to learn more about Giving Tuesday.

There are plenty of places to donate to either with time or money, but there are a few sponsoring programs specifically for the holidays. The Salvation Army and Toys for Tots work together every year to make Christmas a reality for thousands of families.

“We work together with Toys for Tots as they provide the toys and we provide the clothing and the food,” Captain for the Salvation Army of Fort Wayne Luis Acosta said.

The Salvation Army also sponsors the Red Kettle Campaign to raise money for its annual budget.

“Just with kettles alone, we’re trying to raise $240,000, which it is a lot. With those funds, we’re able to help families year-round,” Acosta said. “83 cents to every dollar goes back into the community.”

The Salvation Army has Angel Trees set up in more than 40 stores across the city. Those interested in donating can simply take tags from those trees to find what items are needed.

“They’re living paycheck by paycheck and they lose their job or a divorce or something. They call us and they say I really can’t provide for my kids this year. Is there anything you can do to help?” Acosta said. “The need sometimes is still there year after year, but this year we had a lot of applicants that are new.”

Toys for Tots also has bins set up in many of the Kroger and Walgreens stores.

Families apply in October and get the gifts in late December. The Salvation Army said donations are coming in steadily so far, but Toys for Tots said it’s been somewhat slow.

“Usually this is the week that people sort of kick into the Christmas mode,” Director for Toys for Tots Sunny Helstrom said. “It may look like a lot but it’s not because when you’re servicing 5,000 children and maybe 6, it’s not a lot of toys.”

Toys for Tots is asking specifically for toys for the newborn to two-year-old age groups for both boys and girls, as well as chapter books. Helstrom said every toy makes a major difference.

“To most parents and families that are out there in need, this is a blessing. Just so that a child can wake up knowing that he hasn’t been forgotten because he’s poor. Our goal is to give them a little hope. When I see a child or a mother cry because we’ve given her son a Tonka truck that he so desperately wanted, it means the world to us,” Helstrom said. “We feel that a nice value toy or two or three or four really means a lot to a child, and it also lets them know that the community really cares for them.”

Click here to find drop-off locations for Toys for Tots.

The Angel Tree program runs until December 14th. Toys for Tots is done on December 7th.

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