Walmart and The Salvation Army are partnering this holiday season to help provide new toys and coats to local children on Christmas.
The "Fill the Truck" toy drive is part of the 122nd annual Red Kettle campaign and will be hosted at 23 Kansas City-area Walmart stores, along with more than 2,500 other Walmart stores across the country, on Saturday.
Organizers are encouraging customers to purchase new, unwrapped toys and coats for youth in need starting at 9 a.m.
Shoppers will receive a list of suggested gifts to help fill the collection bin at the store. Once the donation receptacle is full, YRC Worldwide, based in Overland Park, will collect all the gifts and bring them to The Salvation Army to distribute.
The Salvation Army said 81 percent of their programs saw an increase in need from families with children due to the recession in 2011.
In addition, 56 percent of their youth programs were operating at or beyond capacity, which includes feeding, education, athletic, artistic and religious programs. As a result of the recession's lingering impact, The Salvation Army expects the need to continue with this Christmas season.
The Red Kettle Campaign has grown into one of the most recognizable and important charitable campaigns in the United States.
As part of the campaign, more than 25,000 Salvation Army workers and volunteers spread throughout the country to ring bells daily and solicit spare change donations to the iconic red kettles from holiday shoppers.
In 2011, the campaign raised more than $147.6 million nationwide, a new record supported by the public's nickels, dimes, quarters, dollars, and credit cards (and the occasional diamond ring or gold tooth) all collected and used to help people in the communities where they were raised.
Last year, the funds helped The Salvation Army provide food, clothing, toys and other assistance to 30 million Americans in need.
Those who wish to support can also do so by texting the word SHARE to 71777 from their mobile phone to make a donation to The Salvation Army. Donations can also be made online at www.SalvationArmyPendel.org or by calling 1 800-SAL-ARMY.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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