December 17, 2012 12:00AM
More than 800 area families will have a better Christmas this year thanks to the Salvation Army/Wesley House toy and food distribution event, taking place this week at the PSU Student Recreation Center/Kansas National Guard Armory.
The event, in its sixth year as a joint venture of The Salvation Army and Wesley House, provides free food and toys to families who turn to the two charitable organizations for assistance during the holiday season. This is the third year for it to be held at the PSU rec center/armory.
The event runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17 and from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Frances Mitchelson, toy distribution coordinator for The Salvation Army, said the distribution event is all about helping those in need.
“It’s such a blessing to have so many toys donated from so many different people,” Mitchelson said. “A lot of people give to this cause so that many, many families in our community can have a better Christmas. It’s a wonderful thing to experience, and we could not be more grateful for the support.”
Ellie Foster, pastor and executive director of The Wesley House, expressed her appreciation for PSU and the National Guard for hosting the event.
“This is such a wonderful facility,” Foster said. “We can’t thank PSU enough for letting us have this here. It’s a tremendous help for us, which also means it’s a tremendous benefit for the community and those families that we help. There is a great need in this community, and everyone who is a part of this plays an integral role in helping to meet those needs.”
Many PSU students and employees volunteer their time and energy to help make the event a success.
“It’s very gratifying to know how many people, especially children, that we help each year with this event,” Jaime Vanderbeck, assistant director of PSU’s Office of Continuing and Graduate Studies, said. “I love volunteering here every year and helping to make Christmas brighter for kids and their parents.”
Johnna Schremmer, director of PSU’s Alumni and Constituent Relations, said the alumni center staff members have volunteered at the event for many years.
“The holiday season is supposed to be about giving back and helping others, and this is one of the best ways to do that in our community,” Schremmer said. “There are so many people who need just a little help, and we want to be out there helping in any way we can.”