OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Families in need can find some Christmas spirit through two local programs provided by the Salvation Army of Omaha. The programs offer gifts and food to people looking for a little extra help.
There's the Adopt-A-Family Program and Toyland. Adopt-A-Family pairs families with a sponsor who buys gifts and a grocery store gift card while Toyland lets families choose free gifts at one of three metro distribution locations.
"From providing a toy for my child to maybe not being able to have a Christmas dinner, I don't know that people understand the depth of that and how far that goes...and what a difference that makes in a human life," Salvation Army Divisional Commander Greg Thompson said.
Thompson says these donations represent more than food and gifts.
"Either there's a loss of a job or there's a loss of income or there's a family breakdown or there's something going on there and the one thing you can do is give a constant," Thompson said.
Those constants can mean everything to the recipients like to resident Daniel McWilliams.
McWilliams has been using the Salvation Army's services for years.
"When I first was acquainted with Salvation Army, not only did I need a place to live, I had a bad alcohol and marijuana problem back then and I went through their program," McWilliams said.
McWilliams uses the Salvation Army's food pantry and holds the belief that any good deed makes all the difference.
"People need other people, people need to hear that you are cared for, that somebody cares for you and that you are not alone," McWilliams said.
Thompson hopes people find some semblance of hope through their services.
"Some food or some toys at Christmas, that really makes that day feel like it's not a part of all the difficulty they are facing in other places and I think that's what makes the real difference in people's lives," Thompson said.
Registration is open for the Adopt-A-Family program and starts today. Registration for Toyland starts Nov. 1. To sign up, visit the Salvation Army's website.
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