Monday morning, a holiday tradition kicks off that makes a huge difference for thousands of local families struggling to make ends meet.
They call it the “toy shop”, and it’s easy to see why, because it truly looks like Santa’s workshop when you enter the building.
Toys for about 6,000 kids are ready to go for the holidays. Inside is just bag after bag filled with presents that could be anything from dolls to board games, as well as dozen of bikes were also donated.
But something like this does not come together overnight. The Salvation Army starts collecting donated gifts in February, and they setup their workshop last month.
This year, they’re helping 1,600 families between Naples and Immokalee. Each bag is personalized for a specific family, based on their wish list, which can really make all the difference over the holidays.
“The need is here, it might not seem like it on the surface but you have a lot of people who are at that poverty line that are living in Naples. It’s a great need and we always say you’re not gonna solve all their problems with a gift at Christmas, but you are gonna make their year a little bit easier and their day a little bit brighter and that’s important to us,” said Salvation Army Captain, Annie Bridges.
Any toys that are leftover they share with other groups like the fire department or they pack up and save them for the following year.
Families will start packing up their presents Monday morning.