SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The Salvation Army hosted its annual Toy Shop Thursday giving out free toys to families in need.

“COVID really kind of hit my family,” Mom Stephanie said. “I just really appreciate coming here and being able to shop for my two-year-old little girl and my ten-year-old boy. Otherwise, they probably wouldn’t have much on Christmas.”

Stephanie has been to the toy shop two times now. She’s grateful for the Salvation Army holding an event like this.

“It just makes my family really happy,” Stephanie said.

Families also received gift certificates to Price Cutter to buy Christmas dinner.

“Everyone knows the cost of everything has gone up,” Major Jon Augenstein said. “
Preparation for the toy shop started a few months ago.

“Back in October we had the opportunity for people to come in and apply, make sure that they qualified and they were given a time to come today,” Augenstein said. “We have folks, volunteers who will take them through personal shoppers who will help them pick out toys for their kids for  this Christmas.”

All of the toys are donated.

“The only reason we can have this toy shop is because of the generosity of the of the folks in the Springfield area,” Augenstein said. “They put toys in our buckets and we bring it back.”

The Salvation Army also sets up Red Kettles and has bell ringers outside of some grocery stores.

“The red kettles are doing well,” Augenstein said. “We are staying at pace with last year. We need to raise more than last year.”