Salvation Army spreads holiday cheer to Sussex families in need

SEAFORD — With an offer of personalized prayer, several hundred families in Sussex County on Wednesday received holiday joy — food boxes and toys — through The Salvation Army’s Christmas assistance program.

This year, approximately 350 families, including about 500 children, are being served through gift packages of toys and food for the holidays, said Lt. Kathryn Alban, co-pastor with husband Lt. Miguel Alban of The Salvation Army Seaford Corps that serves all of Sussex County.

“We try to give a big toy, a few small items, a book and a board game and a stocking to every kid,” said Lt. Kathryn Alban.

Food boxes, which include a turkey or chicken, are based on family size.

Clients arriving for the check-off and pick-up were asked if they would like to participate in prayer de-livered by Lt. Miguel Alban.

“Obviously, we want to meet people’s physical needs and bring joy through toys for Christmastime, but we truly believe that the biggest need is spiritual,” said Lt. Kathryn Alban. “So, we also want to be that emotional support for people as well.”

Assistance on pickup day was undertaken by a small army of volunteers spearheaded by members Vicki DeSantis, Warren DeSantis and Dr. Diana Abrams, all members of The Salvation Army’s advisory council.

“Obviously, our advisory board members are great with organizing, helping and bringing in volunteers. If not, it would just be me and my husband and our staff. We appreciate it,” said Lt. Kathryn Alban.

Among those lending helping hands were Alan and Linda Siegal, residents of Heritage Shores in Bridgeville. Mr. Siegal said he learned of The Salvation Army’s annual effort through an angel tree while at a local fitness gym. He and his wife also help at a hallway house, food pantry and with other charitable causes in the area.

“We like to do those things. We like to do that instead of just writing a check,” said Mr. Siegal, who helped load boxes and bags in vehicles of authorized recipients. “What they do here and the amount of stuff they have here is unbelievable.”

This year, prospective clients began applying for help in November. The Salvation Army works “in tan-dem” with Toys for Tots and similar organizations to eliminate “double” recipients of toys, Dr. Abrams said.

Applications included wish lists for their children. That triggered community and business support through angel trees.

“Each kid has an angel tag made up for them with the wish list that they have, their gender and their age. We have different locations that put up trees and they hang the tag on their tree,” said Lt. Kathryn Alban. “We couldn’t do this without their help. Without the help of the community we would be lacking in so many toys; we wouldn’t be able to meet the families’ needs.”

The Salvation Army is mapping out plans for 2019.

“Next year we will be starting (to take applications) in October,” said Kathryn Alban. “That is important for our clients to know.”


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