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Strangers offer smiles, hope to families for Salvation Army toy drive

Last year, alone, more than 11,000 children received new toys through donations.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — By rule, someone we don’t know is a stranger. Let’s fix that.

Kerry-Ann Bailey is a mother-of-five and a grandmother-of-one. This year her family is one of 2,000 families who you are helping.

“Some may see it as accepting a handout,” she said. “I’m one person trying to do everything that I have to do and I accept all help when given because essentially, you know, I appreciate it.”

Six years ago her family received help from the Salvation Army’s annual toy drive. Last year, alone, more than 11,000 children received new toys through donations. This year, like so many central Ohioans, Covid has added another obstacle to overcome.

“My income was reduced by $24,000 last year,” Bailey said. “I’m back to a steady playing field, but I’m still putting kids through college.”

Bailey’s family has also been adopted this Christmas through the Salvation Army. A gesture made possible through the kindness of strangers.

“They reached out to me and offered assistance with Christmas and who doesn’t need help with Christmas,” she said.

By receiving this help Christmas shopping was one less thing, helping her to, instead, pay her son’s fall school tuition.

“Even though people may see it as Christmas…it helped me beyond the scope of Christmas,” Bailey said.

She knows. She’s been there. It’s difficult, understandably, to accept help let alone talk about it. But Bailey wanted to be interviewed so that she could say thanks to the donors and the Salvation Army for making it all possible.

“I appreciate it,” she said. “It’s merely a matter of setting your pride aside and for those who don’t know you to actually pour into your family or anyone…merely show your appreciation.”

Letting everyone know that just because we might be strangers that doesn’t mean we have to be estranged.

The Big 10TV Toy Drive is happening this Thursday.

You can drop off an unwrapped toy at the WBNS studios at 770 Twin Rivers Drive in Columbus from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

To learn more about the toy drive, click here.

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