MEDFORD, Ore. — The Salvation Army of Jackson County and Toys for Tots have teamed up this year to provide for families in need, but COVID-19 and other impacts mean that the need has never been greater.
The Salvation Army said on Thursday that the organization is providing for 1,500 families this year — 1,000 more than in previous years. As a result, the organization and Toys for Tots are leaning on more generosity from the community than ever before.
"The Salvation Army has taken the lead in the combined collaboration with toys for Tots this year in order to ensure that more families are provided for during this challenging year," Major Jason Koenig said in a statement. "With this in mind, The Salvation Army has experienced the challenges of businesses who normally would host an angel tree have either declined this year or returned the angel tags without toys due to COVID-19 related business closures."
About half of the Salvation Army's Angel Tree donors are gone this year, and Koenig says that the organization either needs 1,500 Angel tags to be adopted by donors, or it needs $30,000 toward purchasing the toys in time for distribution by Christmas. The Salvation Army is also looking for volunteers to help with toy sorting and distribution over the next two weeks.
"We are very thankful this year, that the Jackson County EXPO has allowed us to use one of their buildings as our toy sorting and distribution site," Koenig said. "This allows for us to maintain COVID-19 guidelines as we are able to have social distancing in this very big area. Masks are required to be worn by all volunteers."
For more information or to volunteer, contact the Salvation Army in Medford at (541) 773-6965 ext. 101, visit the website, or visit them at 304 Beatty Street, Medford, Oregon 97501.
Every year, NewsWatch 12 teams up with the Salvation Army on Season for Sharing to provide toys and meals for families in need. You can donate new, unwrapped toys at the Salvation Army storefront in the lower level of the Rogue Valley Mall. Donations will be collected now through December 16, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.