Salvation Army of Champaign County toy store is officially open

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) – A line of people formed outside the Salvation Army of Champaign County, as families waited to fill their carts with Christmas gifts for their kids.

“I really enjoy doing it. I enjoy blessing the families, I enjoy being out here, and seeing their faces when they light up when they get the gifts. It’s just great, it’s awesome,” Kevin Sprau, a volunteer, said.

Thousands of toys, games, and even clothes filled the room. While volunteers helped each client make Christmas happen.

“Just seeing the people being able to bless them, being able to reach out if they need prayer, if they need whatever, they need a smile, a hug,” Sprau said. “They’re just thankful they can come here, and that their kids are going to have a Christmas.

“I understand the need to be able to give to those who you love, and being able to help others do that is probably the best gift I get every year,” Jill Odom, a volunteer, said.

But it’s not something that just happens overnight. People like Al Vogelsang make sure everything is ready to go, and running smoothly.

“It’s very rewarding, especially if you’re shopping with a client. You see their emotion and how grateful they are. 99% of them are very grateful that this helps make Christmas worthwhile for their kids. A Christmas their children won’t forget,” Vogelsang said.

Each child from each family will be able to get several items to unwrap this year.

Even though the store has already opened, you can still donate and volunteer. You can learn more about both here.

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