BOISE -- The Salvation Army in the Treasure Valley is very busy putting the community's donations to work. This week volunteers are distributing all the food and toys the community has donated over the past several weeks.
The Salvation Army's Toy and Joy Store on State Street in Boise looks a lot like the North Pole, and volunteers are like Santa's elves, busy at work.
"This is where it's all coming together. This is where the Stuff the Bus toys, the KTVB Cares Day, our Angel Tree program, this is giving it out to the community," said Amber Young, Social Services Director for The Salvation Army in Boise.
Pre-registered families are paired up with a volunteer. First, each child receives a new book through Operation Wish Book. Then, parents get to shop at the Toy and Joy Store, where volunteers have categorized donated toys based on gender and age. Each child over two years old receives one large toy, two small toys and two stocking stuffers. Each family is also given a food box for Christmas dinner, a game or ball, and a stuffed animal.
"Just the shopping experience is really fun for the parents. To actually get to shop for their kids, it makes them feel special," said Young.
Young says the Toy and Joy Store in Boise will provide 6,000 families and 3,000 children with toys and food for Christmas.
"We've had a couple cry just because they know without this that their kids wouldn't have anything under the Christmas tree," said Young.
Meanwhile in Nampa, there is another North Pole where volunteers with The Salvation Army are hard at work.
"We're looking at between 700 and 800 families coming through here and about 2,000 kids just here in Nampa," said Major Bill Hathorn, The Salvation Army, Nampa.
Families in Nampa receive a box of food for Christmas dinner. They, too, get to shop for toys for their children. Coats are also provided, along with stocking stuffers.
"The families that come through, every one of them smile and say thank you. There were some with tears in their eyes," said Hathorn.
There is still a need for donations, though. Hathorn says they are lacking toys for boys ages 5 to 10 and pre-teen girls.
"Usually the younger kids get covered fairly well, but some of the older kids kind of don't always," said Hathorn.
In Boise, Young says there is a need for toys for boys ages 9 to 12.
"Anything for the older boys is where we're lacking the most. Nerf things, radio controlled toys, camping equipment is really popular with that age range," said Young.
In addition, The Salvation Army in Caldwell tells KTVB they are lacking toys for boys and girls ages 13 to 14.
Donations in Nampa can be dropped off at The Salvation Army's office at 403 12th Ave. S.
Donations in Boise can be dropped off at The Salvation Army Thrift Store at 4306 W. State Street.
Donations in Caldwell can be dropped off at The Salvation Army's office at 1015 E. Chicago Street.