9,500 kids to get Christmas gifts from Salvation Army

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You could call it Santa's Little Workshop of Wichita.

From now until Friday, nearly 3,400 families are expected to visit the Salvation Army's biggest fundraiser of the year -- Mission of Hope and the Angel Tree.

"I know that every child that is on our list is getting a toy,' said Maj. Glen Caddy of the Salvation Army. "It's an overwhelming experience of community generosity to see how the community has banded together and rallied around our needs this year."

Needs this year have been especially challenging. With a shortened turnaround from Thanksgiving to Christmas, Caddy said he wasn't sure that the 9,500 children in need of gifts would get one.

Yet, thanks to volunteers and donors like John Belt, families can fulfill their Christmas wish lists.

Belt is among volunteers with the Sunflower Woodworkers Guild. The group made 850 toys and child-sized furniture for the event. They then collaborated with local artists to give the gifts a little flair.

"What's gratifying about this project is watching the people trying to select from the array of toys and the gratitude that their eyes reflect," he said. "It's wonderful."

People must apply for the Mission of Hope and Angel Tree programs with the Salvation Army. People can sign up around November each year.

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