Salvation Army helps hundreds in Southwest Florida

Reporter: Gina Tomlinson Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:

The Salvation Army is helping hundreds of families in Southwest Florida. Volunteers say they’re hoping to make the holidays a little brighter for parents and their kids.

The Salvation Army is still in need of volunteers to help hand out gifts tomorrow morning through Wednesday. This year they had 1,500 more people helping to fill bags, and that’s the highest number of donors yet.

“I just saw the numbers and thought, that’s touching a lot of families,” Ashley Barker said.

“This is actually the first year he’s really gotten into the Christmas spirit, the light, the Santa and everything,” Ashley Barker said.

And now 2-year-old Jacob Barker will have presents underneath the Christmas tree thanks to generous donations from the community. Jacob’s mother, Ashley, was one of many parents lined up at the salvation army in North Fort Myers, hoping for a little extra help this holiday.

“Two parents trying to both work and just trying to take care of kids because a lot of times one parents paycheck goes straight toward daycare so you can work so it’s really a struggle in a half,” Barker said.

This is a struggle volunteers want to make a little less difficult. They wheeled out 4,000 bags filled with food toys and clothes into family’s cars.

“I’m a single mom,” Jessica Lazicki said. “I don’t work. I’m new to Florida, so any little bit can help.”

Mary Dahl was one of those happy to help.

“We pick up the bags and bring the toys out and get a chance to interact with them a little bit,” Dahl said. “And they’re all appreciative and hardworking, and it just feels good.”

The Salvation Army of Lee County has been running this program for four years now.

Making Christmas Brighter for those in need.

“Oh, this is everything to me,” Lazicki said. “Anything to see the smile on my kid’s face. I’m really hoping when he wakes up Christmas morning his face just lights up.”


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