Four Wichita charitable organizations teamed up Saturday for the first-ever Day of Giving to help jump start holiday donating.
An army of volunteers helped to collect the donations at the Dillons Marketplace at Central and Rock in east Wichita.
Interfaith Ministries, Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, and Marine Corps Toys for Tots will benefit from the items gifted during the event.
"It's really good to get out in the community and let them know that nonprofits really do work together," Interfaith Ministries Operation Holiday Director LaVeta Noble said.
The collaboration is more important than ever this year because the need is so great and the donations are so scarce.
For example, Interfaith Ministries needs 100,000 food items to adequately feed local families but right now has just 31,000.
"It is building that awareness of what is going on in the community for Christmas and where can I help," volunteer coordinator Rachel Hittner said.
Volunteers stood at all entrances and exits to the store. When people walked in they handed them an information slip. On that slip was a shopping list of what each organization needs. Shoppers used the list as a guide and then simply had to hand over the items on their way out of the store.
Many shoppers responded well to the inaugural event.
"They make it very easy to do and it's always good to give at this time of year," Wichita's Sharon Becker said.
Others heard about the event and made a special trip to the store just drop off a donation.
"These (items) were in our pantry, we just decided we could give a number of things we had on hand," Wichita's Steve Wendt said.
Volunteers placed the donated items in shopping carts which were then wheeled out to a pair of tents in the parking lot that marked a "command center."
People could also drive up to the tents and drop off donations.
Inside the tents is where volunteers sorted and prepared the items for distribution. Organizations will begin distributing the items next week.
With the event nearly over, organizers said they had collected more than 1,000 items.
"Every sock, every can, every small toy regardless of the value of it helps us if we all just pitch in a little bit we can make a difference in our community," Noble said.