The Salvation Army wrapped up its annual toy drive yesterday after ministry leader Wayne Gillespie and volunteers delivered more than 160 toys to the Division of Youth Services.
Gillespie said he was relieved that the organization was able to come through for the DYS children this year, following an 11th hour surge of toy donations from the community.
“We gave at least two toys each to all of the kids. Some of them got two and some of them may have gotten more than that. We had close to 90 recipients.”
Gillespie thanked Bank of Hawaii, the Rotary Club of Saipan, and anonymous corporate and individual sponsors for their donations. He admitted that the toy drive had an inauspicious start, as donations were a bit slow this year.
“The toy drive raised our blood pressure and it caused us to lose sleep. But at the last minute the community came through. Most of those who rescued us want to remain anonymous and we respect that. One business in particular donated a lot of toys and wants to remain anonymous. Several individuals also donated out of pocket and came in at the last minute. A lot of kids will be happy this Christmas.”
Yesterday’s delivery to DYS concluded a hectic three days for the group and its cadre of hardworking volunteers.
“We were up last night wrapping gifts and still wrapping gifts this morning. Toy drives may sound simple thing but it involves a lot of logistics. Main crux of the toy drive was done in the last three days and we were almost working round the clock. You have to wrap the gifts, sort them out, and divide them by gender.”
Gillespie said around 10 people volunteered for the toy drive. Around 30 or so helped in the group’s other holiday activities, like manning the soup kitchen and helping in their kettle drives.