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Salvation Army kicks off holiday distribution
The Salvation Army provided food boxes to 300 families in the Yuma area Wednesday, the first day of its holiday assistance program.
In all, 1,200 low-income families are expected to receive food boxes during the distribution that is scheduled to take place each day through Friday at the former Kmart building at 32nd Street and Avenue B.
Food and cash donations from the public, various businesses and other organizations enabled army volunteers to prepare the food boxes and turkeys being given to the families.
The amount of donations by Yuma residents was "tremendous as always," said Salvation Army Captain Jonathan Harvey.
"We really appreciate that they (Salvation Army) help us with gifts," said Beatrice Campagne, a San Luis, Ariz., resident and mother of 10- and 2-year-old daughters. "On Christmas we just stay at home with my mom, dad, sisters and brother. We're all going to cook."
Alejandra Carrera, whose 3-year-old daughter Alexia starts at Tiny Tots Preschool next month, was also thankful for the assistance.
"Anything we receive is good, just to make the family happy," Carrera said. "On Christmas we do a piñata for the kids, my nieces and nephews."
Also receiving a food box was Joe Angulo, who lives in Somerton and is a retired landscaper who once landscaped the building when it was occupied by Kmart. Angulo, who is disabled with a heart condition, said he just plans to stick around the house for Christmas.
"There's no money to go anywhere, gas is so expensive," Angulo said. "My wife Sonia will cook the turkey - she already made tamales and enchiladas. Our kids are coming from Oklahoma and some relatives from Lake Tahoe. We're going to have a full house."
Angulo on Wednesday received two bicycles for his granddaughters, which he said they will like very much. Some years his family visits friends near Laughlin, Nev., he said, but they will stay home this holiday because this year has been hard financially. Still, he said, they hope 2008 will be better.
Among the organizations that made the distribution possible were Yuma Community Food Bank, Toys For Tots and Paradise Casino, Harvey said.
"We've been able to take care of these families very well," Harvey said. "Literally countless businesses and organizations support us to make it happen. This is Yuma at its best."
Lance Cpl. Jeremiah Crane, an administrative clerk at Marine Corps Air Station, was among the Salvation Army volunteers distributing food and toys. This is his second time volunteering.
"We're just trying to do our part," Crane said. "Helping families in need ... the more volunteers we get out here, the better."
Helen Tallman, a winter visitor from Vancouver, Wash., was volunteering for the Salvation Army for the third year on Wednesday. Tallman said volunteering is something she believes in and wishes more people would do.
"We derive so much pleasure from helping - it's rewarding and you meet a lot of nice people," Tallman said. "We're working at Crossroads on Christmas. We have so much to be thankful for. We receive the blessings and we're sharing them."
William Roller can be reached at
email@example.com or 539-6858.