Making Christmas a Little Brighter

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On what might have been a dismal Christmas morning, more than 4,000 children received soft, furry friends, courtesy of the generous Central New York Community. The Teddy Bear Toss at the Syracuse Crunch game December 2, sponsored by Stanley Steemer of Syracuse, netted thousands of stuffed toys, and with the additional donations that continued to flow in, the number easily surpassed 4,000.

After the toys were collected from the OnCenter War Memorial Arena’s ice, they were whisked away to the Stanley Steemer building near Carrier Circle to be cleaned, disinfected, dried and refurbished as necessary – to like new condition. Once they were all spiffed up and ready, the toys were bagged and trucked to the Salvation Army’s Christmas Bureau, held on December 20 in Shoppingtown.

We all can imagine the way a child’s eyes light up seeing a new furry friend, but it is even more important for those among us who are less fortunate. Thanks to the Salvation Army and a battalion of corporate and individual volunteers, this holiday season will be remembered for its warmth and generosity.

The Teddy Bear Toss is a significant part of the Salvation Army’s Christmas Bureau – held this year in Shoppingtown Malls first level – but it is only one piece. Books, personal care items, games, toys, balls, a complete Christmas dinner including a turkey and much more are given to families who have registered their need.

Huge plastic bags with Salvation Army emblazoned on them were filled as volunteers escorted families through the maze of gifts and necessary items. Paper bags of age-appropriate stocking stuffers, one for each child in the family, were lined up and added to the collection of items in the big bags.

The corporate sponsors from companies as diverse as Lockheed-Martin, Wegmans, Carrier, C&S Companies, TRC and more – as well as many individuals – were actively helping with large smiles on their faces.

Although the Salvation Army does their good work for our region all year round the, Christmas Bureau is the Salvation Army’s biggest event. Seven months (or more) go into the planning and logistics of the event, it is the thousands of volunteers that make it possible.

And organizations like Stanley Steemer and the Syracuse Crunch do their part to make it fun.

We are all thankful to live in this wonderful community.


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