SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News)—Smiles all around. Volunteers and Salvation Army employees glowing with warmth, and those in less-fortunate situations knowing that they’re going to be receiving help.
The Refugee Center on Prospect Avenue in Syracuse was one of several Central New York locations open holding registrations for the Christmas Bureau. Stacy Sturdevant is a Salvation Army employee of seven years. Because of this program, she’s always excited for the holiday season.
“Just the outpouring of love and everything that comes in to help the community is amazing,” Sturdevant said. “Yesterday we were packed. I can’t wait to help even more people this year.”
Sturdevant said last year’s Christmas Bureau served nearly 3,000 families and about 11,000 individuals in need in total. Eligibility is based on income, centered around the poverty line.
Then volunteers donate money, food, clothing, toys and much more.
“We had around 1,000 volunteers last year,” Sturdevant said. “Of course, there’s no way we’d be able to do any of the great things we do without our great volunteers.”
One of those volunteers is Ed Butler. He works as a teacher at the Refugee Center, teaching English to all of the non-native speakers.
“This is just beyond the work I do here regularly,” Butler said. “It’s very rewarding. It’s something money can’t buy. You get a good feeling inside, and money can’t buy that.
Everything leads to the distribution day on Wednesday, December 18. All of the volunteers organize the donations, and the families come to the War Memorial to make their Christmas’ special.