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About Amy Umble: Amy Umble writes about religion and social issues affecting the Fredericksburg community. You can email her at

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Early deadlines, greedy wishlists and other questions about holiday toy drives

I’ve been getting a lot of questions after my post about the Salvation Army’s Toyland  yesterday. I sent some of the questions to Elizabeth Willett, director of financial development for the corps. Here are some of the answers:

Q: Why is the deadline (which is tomorrow) so early in the holiday season?

A: The sheer volume of individuals we are providing gifts for is over  1,900 and in order to organize and properly sort and label those gifts we need time. Though the deadline is Friday, people are still bringing in gifts Saturday to the Thrift Store and Monday to our offices so we are flexible and understand not everyone will be able to give us their gifts by tomorrow.

Q: Why do some of the children ask for expensive items like iPhones and gaming machines?

A: The Salvation Army  screens all the wish lists (we actually personally type them up and print them out) and we discourage asking for phones, game consoles, televisions, tablets, or computers and if they do ask for that we let them know it will not go on their wish list. However, we do allow the children to ask fora game for an already existing item they have (i.e. a Nintendo DS game, but not the actually Nintendo DS). And on top of the wishes the children make, which is what is listed on the Angel Tree tag, we also try to provide all the children with a new outfit, socks stocking (filled by area Girl Scout Troops, churches and other community members) and they all get a bag of books. We know the children want toys but we also want them to get some practical items as well and that is what The Salvation Army does above and beyond with generous Angel Tree donations form our community.

Q: Does the Salvation Army accept gift cards?

A:  We do accept gift cards and unless they are for a specific angel we will use cards that are donated to actually go to the store and purchase items for kids who may not have been adopted this Christmas so they have items to open on Christmas morning.

Also, if you can’t get the presents back by tomorrow, you can drop off the gifts next week to 2012 Lafayette Blvd. Monday through Friday,  8 a.m. to  4 p.m. or  at the thrift store at 2010 Lafayette Blvd. Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Also, on Saturday (Dec. 8), you can drop presents off directly at Toyland, 5701 Plank Road in the KMart shopping center off of State Route 3). You can drop off toys from 2-5 p.m.