ALTON - Volunteers from United Way, Salvation Army, the Alton Police Department and more joined forces to sort donations for Community Christmas.

On Monday, Dec. 11, 2023, volunteers gathered at the Alton Salvation Army to unpack 116 boxes that have been collecting donations throughout the Riverbend region. These donations will be given to families in the Greater St. Louis area as part of the United Way Community Christmas initiative.

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“It’s just been amazing to be a part of because it’s just one of those experiences that gets you right here,” said Karen Lintz, Director of the Illinois Region for the United Way of Greater St. Louis. “You think about everybody that is going to receive these donations this Christmas and the smiles it’s going to make with all the kids and the families.”

The sorting day is one of the biggest days for the Community Christmas program, but fundraising and donating started early in the year with events like Christmas in July and Cookies and Cocoa for Community Christmas, both sponsored by Freer Auto Body in Godfrey.

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In addition to monetary donations, community members have filled the 116 boxes, which were placed in local businesses over the past few months. Donations include toys, nonperishable food items, clothing and hygiene/personal care products.

United Way will distribute all donations among 18 local agencies, which will then give the items to the families they work with. Lintz said each agency has reported they will be able to help 500–700 families, so the total number of families impacted by Community Christmas will be well into the thousands this year.

“We are so thankful for the support of the community,” Lintz added. “We wouldn’t be able to do it without that.”

Visit the official United Way of Greater St. Louis website at HelpingPeople.org to donate today.

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