Many Hands Make Light Work

Jan 4, 2023 | by Brent Rinehart

There’s an old proverb that says “many hands make light work.” Serving nearly 2,700 families and 7,000 children at Christmas takes an “Army” of volunteers working together. Each year, it takes nearly 2,000 volunteers giving more than 10,000 volunteer hours. This year, we are overwhelmed with the support we’ve received from the community. Individuals, corporations and faith communities have stepped up, adopting angels, donating financially and giving of their time, all in an effort to bring the hope of Christmas to those in need.

Recently, we asked some of our volunteers who gave of their time and energy at our Christmas Center to share their inspiration for volunteering. We want to share these heartwarming comments and stories with you.

LaTonja Miller:

“My husband and I both volunteer. We don't have children, but we love children and this is our way of giving back to a wonderful  cause that supports children in need.”

Candis Trisby:

“As a child who was in the shoes of the families who needed Christmas assistance, it was such a humbling experience. I found myself shedding tears many times. I am now able to be one of the people who helped families like mine when I was a young girl. I never knew the background of what made it all happen, like people donating items or giving money to organizations like The Salvation Army. It is so beautiful and most dear to my heart. To see it first-hand and participate, it felt good. This is the work that I am able to do with my free time – to put smiles on the children in our communities and to lessen the load of the parents feeling they won’t make it. Making sure kids got the toys in their Christmas bag as requested felt amazing. And, also in those moments I learned something about myself: that giving back to children and families is my soft spot and it has inspired me to want to get more involved at events like Angel Tree.”

Jason Gildea:

“My mother is a big volunteer advocate up in New York, and by me volunteering, it helps keep us connected even though we don’t see each other often. Also, I want to instill kindness and peace in my children. We have so much and yet I want them to know that others aren’t so lucky, and we should always do what we can to help others.”

Luz Herdandez:

“I have volunteered at the Salvation Army for almost 5 years. I grew up in a Latin family; I was only one year old when my parents decided to divorce. My mom decided to move to Charlotte. Half of my childhood I spent time living with my grandparents and my three siblings. We spent so many Christmases without getting any presents. I remember spending Christmas Eve near our little Christmas tree, wondering if I was a bad kid, and that was the reason why I was not getting any presents. I remember having only one Barbie doll without clothes that I used to love to play with. Now as an adult, I understand that my grandparents did not have any money to buy any presents. I've learned a lot from that, and that is the reason why I love to volunteer every year and to give a kid a smile and  make them happy by receiving something that they really wish for. That is why I [adopt] my angels [from the Angel Tree] as well every year. I love to teach my daughter the importance of sharing our blessings with someone.”

Sheila Bovard:

“We have a group of friends who volunteer to honor the memory of my most dearest friend, Pam.  She and I started volunteering about 15 years ago.  We started by bringing our children to volunteer each year.  Then it grew to other family members, youth groups at our church, and so on.  We absolutely loved the atmosphere of giving and serving at the Christmas Center... We wanted to be a part of these families knowing that someone cared about them and wanted to show them God’s love when they were going through a tough time.

In 2019, my friend Pam passed away suddenly. For the last three years, we have organized a group to serve each year in her honor. She absolutely loved serving there. She was so happy, full of smiles and laughter when she was there. Our group keeps growing in numbers as more want to be a part of honoring her memory in a place that meant so much to her. I love being there because it brings back such warm memories of her and of our children serving together.

I am grateful for the [Salvation Army] Christmas Center because of your dedication to bringing joy and love to those who are struggling. My prayer is that the children who receive gifts will know they are cared about, and the parents can have some relief from the burdens they are carrying.”

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