Salvation Army Could Use your Help - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Donations Needed for Toys for Tots, Angel Tree Programs

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Major Janene Zeilinski is one of the busiest Christmas elves in the area right now. She's making sure 3,100 families have a happy Christmas. And she could use your help.

"We are a little behind on donations right now," Zeilinski says. "I think that's because we have fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, and because of the weather. So I'm hoping this is a big shopping weekend and that everyone has us on their list."

In her warehouse at 7175 S. Virginia Street, she has about a tenth of what she'll need to make this holiday season a success for the Salvation Army and the Toys for Tots programs here. A few years back the two joined forces. While Toys for Tots brings in about half of the toys for the season, the Salvation Army is busy collecting everything from toys to wrapping paper and even warm clothing, stocking stuffers and family games. Their workshop will be open for families to shop starting this Friday.

"We have a lot of Angel Trees around town," she says. Some are specific for teenagers or seniors, some are for families. It all comes here and is distributed to those in need. And there are a lot of families in need this holiday season."

Meantime in a warehouse in Sparks, Ken Santor with the Marine Corps League is busy collecting the Toys for Tots boxes he's set out around the area, and organizing the sorting going on. 

"I like to count everything here and sort it into age groups so we can see how we're doing and we're doing well," he says.

The biggest needs are for things for older children. The program serves kids up to 17 and they are good on the number of toys and things for kids up to 10.

"The selection of things for kids from 10-17 is a little low," Santor says. "We could definitely use more."

"For the girls, hair curlers and straighteners, gift certificates and for the boys remote control toys, Lego sets and books, we can use them all," Zeilinski says.

The distribution center opens this Friday. They plan to serve about 150 people in a day. To take part you'll need ID, proof of residency in Washoe County and proof of your child's age. You need to show that you are low-income with a SNAP card or pay stub. And they request that you leave the kids at home.

"This is set up to help families provide for their kids....not for the kids to be here or do the shopping," Zeilinski says. "We figure this will be a good week and that we'll have plenty."

You can find more details on the program and how to take part go to

Written by Erin Breen 

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