Take a Magical Trip to the Evansville Salvation Army’s Toy Town [Pics]
The Salvation Army of Evansville's Toy Town has been an annual Christmas tradition in Evansville for a long time, providing toys for thousands of families in need each year. But Toy Town is more than just "giving toys to families in need." It is a place that gives parents something you can't put a price tag on - dignity. Toy Town gives families a total Christmas experience, including toys, books, and games, as well as food for the family. Toy Town also allows parents to take these toys home and wrap them, which allows these kiddos to enjoy the experience of seeing presents under the tree and ripping those packages open with wrapping paper flying everywhere. Many families wouldn't be able to have all of that without Toy Town.
How Toy Town Works
- Toys are collected at dozens of locations around the Evansville area. Those toys are then separated into different age groups for boys and girls.
- The Salvation Army of Evansville selects over 1,000 families that need help for Christmas.
- Parents of those families are then invited to Toy Town where they get to "shop" (it's all free of course) for their kiddos. They get to take everything home where they hopefully create happy and lasting memories.
- Salvation Army staff and volunteers are with the families every step of the way, giving them whatever they need and making them feel like the special guests they are.
Alex Rahman is the Director of Community Engagement for the Salvation Army of Evansville and has been working with Toy Town for many years. I asked Alex what Toy Town means to him, and how it has affected his Christmas experience...
In previous years, all the work and effort that goes into Toy Town left me feeling tired and exhausted. I wasn’t really able to enjoy it. Christmas can be an exhausting time for a lot of people. I think of people in retail, I think of people at the post office, I think of people at UPS, you name it. It’s an exhausting time for so many people. Seeing how many people have joined us as volunteers over the last couple of years has really taken a burden off my back. I remember one year a company came out for a workday and provided 80 hours for us. I wrote them a letter afterward and I thanked them for that time. I actually teared up whenever they left, and I told them that they really gave me part of my Christmas back. It reminded me that when people come and work together, with kindness and joy, it can be a wonderful time for everyone.
Follow me on a virtual walk-through of this year's Toy Town...
The perfect way to start your Toy Town experience - hanging out with Santa while you wait for your turn to shop.
A bunch of toys to choose from for the itty, bitty, babies.
Amazing helpers like these (the ones with flashing lights on their heads) serve as your personal shopper and guide through Toy Town.
Christmas wouldn't be complete without some stocking stuffers.
Look at that selection of toys for preteen boys. So much fun!
Can't go wrong with all of these for the preteen girls on your list. By the way, that big box isn't for trash - that's for all of the goodies you collect along the way through Toy Town.
Of course, we can't forget about the teenagers in the family.
Shoppers also get to choose a game. Some of my fondest Christmas memories are from playing games with my family.
You can't finish shopping at Toy Town without picking out some books. I love this!
All of these boxes already have some food, but they are about to get some more.
The next stop is to get some yummy (and healthy) ground turkey, some shredded cheese, and a loaf of bread.
Once shoppers are all done, a Toy Town volunteer delivers all the goodies to their vehicle. Next stop, home to get everything wrapped before Christmas morning!