For years, Grand Junction has been home to two separate huge toy drives during the holiday season, but 2020 is different.

The Salvation Army in Grand Junction has always conducted a toy drive during the holidays to collect toys for families in need. At the same time, the popular U.S. Marines Toys For Tots program would also be collecting toys for children of families in need. It felt like the two very worthwhile entities were having to compete for toy donations.

This year, the Salvation Army and Toys For Tots are joining forces to brighten up the holidays for families in need in the Grand Valley. Families in need who can't afford to buy toys for their children are being asked to register at saangeltree.org. Families will be screened based on need and a list is made of toys and clothing, including sizes, that children want.

After that, individuals, companies, and groups can sign up to sponsor a family, child, or senior. These sponsors are given tags with the child's name, age, gender, and gift wish. Anyone who would like to be a sponsor fills out an angel tree host application online.

It's been a difficult year for so many families financially and I can imagine the need around the holidays is as great as it's ever been. There are families who have made it through this year essentially unscathed by the economic impact of COVID-19. If you are one of those, I would ask you to consider being an angel tree sponsor this year to help families who are less fortunate. And, to the families in need, I would declare there is no shame in being in need. Everybody needs a helping hand sooner or later. If you need Christmas assistance, please reach out.

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