MASON CITY, Iowa – This isn’t the first time St. Ansgar senior Claire Groth is helping sort through hundreds of gifts.
“Last year I sorted books and this year I’m just sorting everything,” Groth said.
Having taken part last year, Groth is hoping to continue to help those living in her community.
“Maybe you’re helping somebody that you know potentially,” Groth said. “So you know that they’re going to get a good Christmas because of it.”
With just a couple of days until families come in to pick up the toys and food baskets, it’s all hands on deck to get everything done before Thursday.
“We set up a toy shop and let the parents pick for the kids so that it’s from them,” Salvation Army Social Services Director Tracy Hedegard-Stump said. “We want them to have a good Christmas, we want the family to have a good Christmas, so when they pick the toys they have some ownership.”
She says that process is one of the most rewarding days of the year.
“It’s really awesome to be able to watch the parents pick out the toys,” Hedegard-Stump said. “Some parents cry, I get a lot of hugs, it’s just a really fun day.”
It’s not just enjoyable for the families and those working at the Salvation Army, as Groth says it wouldn’t be surprising if she ends up helping again in the future.
“It’s a rewarding feeling so I wouldn’t mind doing it again,” Groth said.
Students will be back again Wednesday to sort through all the other toys.