Donations and Volunteers Make Christmas Happen in Tri-Cities - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Donations and Volunteers Make Christmas Happen in Tri-Cities

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Ray, a volunteer at the Salvation Army, hands out boxes of food to hundreds of needy families. Ray, a volunteer at the Salvation Army, hands out boxes of food to hundreds of needy families.

PASCO, WA - All your donations paid off. On Wednesday, the Salvation Army gave out food boxes, winter coats, and a lot of toys to 500 needy families in the Tri-Cities.

The donations, large and small, came from churches, community groups, businesses, and private families who want to help other families people struggling to make ends meet.

Ana Avila, the social services director, started volunteering for the Salvation Army ten years ago. Avila says this is always the busiest day of the year.

"It is, but we're excited. We're happy to be here and the clients are excited as well. They are very, very appreciative of everything they get."

The families signed up for the gift basket program in November, telling volunteers how many boys and girls in their family, their ages, what sizes they wear, and what gift they would like to open on Christmas morning.

Avila says the gift baskets and food makes a big difference in the lives of the children and their parents who need extra help during the holidays.

The Salvation Army helps hundreds of families throughout the year with food, clothing, housing and help with utility bills. Hundreds turned out for a summer food distribution, and due an increase in the number of needy families, the Salvation Army ran out of money this year to help families pay their utility bills.  

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