The Ottumwa Courier


December 20, 2012

325 families to benefit from Salvation Army donations

OTTUMWA — Generosity from strangers means Christmas dinner will be a reality for hundreds of Ottumwa-area families who may have wondered how they’d ever afford it.

Ottumwa Salvation Army pastor Captain Oliver Knuth said this year, nearly 325 families (including more than 500 children) will benefit from the distribution of food and gifts this week. These are the families that already applied and were approved for holiday assistance from The Salvation Army.

Each family will receive a ham, as well as other food, to prepare a holiday meal.

And thanks to a bunch of area businesses and individuals, the kids in those families will have presents to open, too.

The pastor said many of the toys are provided by local businesses and churches, including participants in the Toys for Tots program, donations to Sparky Clause at the Ottumwa Fire Department and the various Angel Trees at local businesses.

One of the Angel Tree businesses was the Menard’s store in Ottumwa.

“We collected over 900 toys,” said Patrick Plaehn, the general manager.

Staff wrestled four pallets  full of toys onto a truck for the trip to the Salvation Army.

Even in tough economic times, Ottumwans stepped up their game. Plaehn said the donation was almost double the 500 toys they donated last year.

Knuth said because of the support from the community, children up to 13 will receive two toys each, as well as a game, a little stocking stuffer and winter weather gear like hats and gloves.

Older children will get a gift card to use at the Ottumwa Wal-Mart.

Everyday people help out, too, the captain said: Christmas assistance also comes right out of The Salvation Army Red Kettles.

Distribution of toys and food will be distributed to the pre-approved applicants from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, though the center is closed over the noon hour.

The Salvation Army Worship and Community Center at 725 W. Second Street.

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