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Needy Parents ‘Shop’ For Toys At Kroc Center

Aired 12/21/11 on KPBS News.

The Salvation Army will collect and distributes gifts to about 44,000 needy children this holiday season.

Tables were stacked high with games and toys; a row of bicycles filled the aisle. These are the types of things kids love to see under the tree at Christmas.

But the families selecting gifts today at the Ray and Joan Kroc Salvation Army Center in Rolando had no money for presents this year. That’s where the “Angel Trees” come in.

San Diegans select a gift to donate to a child, each represented by an angel on one the trees located in shopping centers, malls and businesses across the county.

Then needy parents are invited to select the gifts for their children.

Katie Cardinale was there at the busy center for her 3 year old son.

“I lost my job a couple of months ago and had to take a pay cut. It’s hard when you have little kids; you want them to have gifts to open on Christmas, so this is pretty amazing,” she said.

Maria Cardenas was picking out presents for her three children.

“I was able to get some good stuff, even a game for us as a family, that we can enjoy together.”

Major Rick Peacock of the Salvation Army said gifts will be given to 44,000 children during the holidays in San Diego County. And it’s not to late to donate.

He said the Salvation Army is running low on presents, particularly for younger children through preschool age. They also need gifts for boys ages 9 through 12.

Peacock said the spirit of the season is embodied in the gift drive,

“What’s better in life than helping others?”

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