CNJ staff photo: Benna Sayyed Esmeralda Carrasco, 4, left, Geisi Rubi Carrasco, 7, middle top, and Erica Carrasco, 2, middle bottom, daughters of Elva Carrasco, receive an Angel Toys gift package from angel tree coordinator Rebekah Gallop.
Clovis’ Salvation Army Angel Toys charity helped local parents facing tough economic times provide their children presents this Christmas.
Salvation Army Major Rachel Gallop said Angel Toys received approximately 1,500 toys including 42 bicycles from local organizations, businesses and individuals to distribute to families Wednesday and Thursday.
“This helps the people realize that somebody cares for them, that they’re not out there alone,” Gallop said.
“It makes the kids realize that there are people out there who want to do things for them. And hopefully that will give them a role model to follow.”
Parents completed Angel Toys applications in October and November to get their children in the gift-giving line.
First, parents filled out a gift request form. Their child’s first name and gift request were then written on a paper angel cutout and hung on angel trees at different locations around Clovis such as North Plains Mall, Walmart and Hastings.
Next, members of the community with a charitable Christmas spirit picked an angel off of a tree and purchased the gift the child requested.
Gallop said the annual charity put a system in place this year to facilitate the toy pickup by parents and children.
After parents turned in their gift request forms, they drove around to the side door of the Salvation Army Chapel where Angel Toys volunteers greeted them with smiles and their gift bags.
Gallop said this method of toy distribution greatly reduced congestion in the Salvation Army front office.
“It’s run smoothly and it’s very organized. People seem happy with what they’re getting,” Gallop said.
Rebekah Gallop, 16, angel tree coordinator and daughter of Jim and Rachel Gallop, has participated in angel tree since the age of two.
This year she took the reins and coordinated a majority of Angel Toys. She organized bags of toys, families’ applications and filled out angel trees with a sense of compassion.
“Today we’re distributing all the toys. I’ve been running back and forth and getting toys for people,” Rebekah Gallop said.
“I like giving the toys to families. They are really grateful and that is a really great thing. I like helping the community. I’ve been doing community service my whole life so I’ll probably help in the future,” Rebekah Gallop said.
“The kids are very happy. This one little girl was jumping for joy for her little bike so it’s just nice seeing that they’re happy, that they’re getting what they want.”