'Toyland' makes Christmas possible for thousands

Posted at 12:25 PM, Dec 20, 2016

It’s crunch time for last-minute Christmas shoppers and at one place it’s busy like you would expect it to be.

Only, it’s not a store.

Inside The Salvation Army Kroc Center, a hundred parents, at a time, are directed to a room where toys are categorized by gender and age groups.

It's our Christmas toy shop, where The Salvation Army provides food and toys for families in need, says Maj. Todd Thiekle with the Kroc center.

The annual drive, known as "Toyland," allows parents the option to “shop” for toys rather than be handed out an item.

Some volunteers stand behind tables, placing brand new toys, board games, bags and electronics for the shoppers. Others guide parents through the shopping experience, as they peruse at different tables, carefully selecting the ideal gift for their child.

Without "Toyland," there might not be any last minute shopping –  making Christmas a reality.

“The things that you can't afford – The Salvation Army always helps you out,” says Amber Chaidez, a parent. “I see some gifts up there that kids would want on their wish list."

According to spokeswoman Susan Eustice for the organization, the drive relies entirely on the generosity of the community. Toys have been collected through community drives and Salvation Army Angel Trees located at Omaha and Council Bluffs area malls and businesses, including the lobby of KMTV Action 3 News.

This year, organizers say nearly 4,800 more children will be able to celebrate Christmas in the metro.