Salvation Army’s Christmas Bureau Gearing Up for Holidays Salvation Army's Christmas Bureau Gearing Up for Holidays

Registration is open for families in need to receive gifts and supplies.

ANCHOR: For just over 20 years, the Salvation Army of Syracuse has been giving during the holiday season with the Christmas Bureau. The CNY community comes together to gather huge amounts of toys and necessities for those who are less fortunate. NCC News’ Frankie Vernouski headed down to the Refugee Center in Syracuse to some of the good in action.

ED BUTLER: It’s very rewarding. It’s something money can’t buy. You get a good feeling inside, and money can’t buy that.

STACY STURDEVANT: Just the outpouring of love and everything that comes in to help the community is amazing.

FRANKIE: Ed Butler teaches English to refugees at the Refugee Center in Syracuse. Today, he’s helping some of those same individuals register for help from the Christmas Bureau. Butler says it makes the holiday season.

BUTLER: Especially helping the poor. People that need help, a lot of times they’re forgotten. This time of year, it’s just nice to be able to help them.

FRANKIE: Stacy Sturdevant of the Salvation Army says that ends up being a lot of people.

STURDEVANT: Well it’s a great program because we get to reach out and help so many families in need in the county. We reach out to about between 2,600 and 2,7000 families in Onondaga County which equates to about 11,000 people.

FRANKIE: Toys, food, blankets bringing smiles to faces and warmth to the heart.

STURDEVANT: It really, if you need your faith restored in humanity or anything just come in and see the amount of giving that’s going on during that time. It’s wonderful.

FRANKIE: And that giving comes together one special night at the War Memorial downtown. And that night is December 18th. No it’s not a Crunch hockey game, it’s not a music concert. It’s the Salvation Army’s Distribution Night where all of the volunteers, all of the donations come out of the cold and inside, and meet all of those who may be less fortunate during the holiday season, in what’s really a culmination of the best of the Syracuse community. Frankie Vernouski. NCC News.

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.”

A chart displaying income amounts that qualify for Christmas Bureau donations
To receive eligibility for Christmas Bureau donations, a family or individual must at least meet these financial guidelines.
© 2019 Salvation Army

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.

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Frankie Vernouski Profile Picture

Frankie Vernouski

I am in my third year at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication. In my time at Syracuse, I also work for WAER-FM, WJPZ-FM and the ACC Network. In the summer of 2019, I was with the Brewster Whitecaps of the Cape Cod Baseball League. I look forward to joining the Auburn Doubledays in the Washington Nationals organization in 2020.

Other stories by Frankie Vernouski

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