SYRACUSE, NY (N.C.C. News)—Registration for the Salvation Army’s Christmas Bureau will be open Monday, Dec. 6 through Wednesday, Dec. 7 at the Oncenter in downtown Syracuse. The event, which according to Gina Lazara, the Salvation Army’s Special Events Manager, draws roughly 1,100 volunteers, is the non-profit’s largest of the year.
The large number of volunteers available for the Christmas Bureau is consistent with a national trend that sees increased rates of volunteering during the holidays. According to a study conducted at the University of Texas at Dallas volunteerism increases 50% during the months of November and December.
“We just spent all year doing things for [ourselves], said Gina Lazara, the Special Events Manager at the Salvation Army. “Let’s give back now. I think [people] are reflecting on their year and they’re saying I want to give back to my community.”
Allison Douglas, who has volunteered at the Christmas Bureau for the past seven years, said that she encourages anyone who wants to contribute to help out.
“It’s something that you really can’t describe to someone,” Douglas said. “They have to really get out there and dive in to get that feeling of wow I impacted twenty-five-hundred or more lives.”
The ongoing registration allows income eligible families access to Distribution Day on Dec. 15 where they will receive food, books, and toys for Christmas gifts. The program aims to address tangible needs such as food insecurity, through food donations, but also to create a personal connection for children who otherwise might miss out on the full Christmas experience.
“As a mother of four I know how important it is for a child to wake up in the morning and come running up to their Christmas tree, all lit up and see the presents underneath,” said Douglas. “I mean…it’s something that embodies the magic that is Christmas.”
Toys for Tots has collected donated toys to hand out for the past30 years.