The Holidays are Better Here: Fort Wayne 2012

By Eric Olson

December 20, 2012 Updated Dec 20, 2012 at 8:45 AM EDT

Fort Wayne, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) -
Behind an empty storefront in Glenbrook Commons, a Christmas miracle is unfolding. This is command headquarters for two of Fort Wayne’s greatest holiday charities, the Marine Corps Reserve ‘Toys for Tot’s’, and the Salvation Army’s ‘Adopt a Family’ program…manned today by volunteers from New Haven’s Lifeway Wesleyan Church. Ben Cox and his wife Thelma have volunteered here for nine Christmases.

“after I retired we decided it was time to do something,” Ben says, “and we consider Salvation Army a great organization, we decided to go to work for them.”

This year these charity programs are fulfilling the Christmas wishes of nearly three thousand local children from 935 families. Donations come here, they’re unpacked, inspected, cataloged on computer and assigned to a family, who’s been chosen for this program based on their need.

“If this person is a truly needy person, an abusive relationship, they’re recently lost a job they had a fire in their house where they’ve lost everything, the husband had abandoned the family, they are the ones considered for the adopted family program,” Ben says.

Once the donations are processed they’re placed in a bag with the family’s name on it…hundreds of bags in every corner of this building..each containing a family’s Christmas wishes…an outfit for each child, a bag of toys, and a box of food that includes a frozen turkey. The families pick up the donations at the front door. Every child in this family is getting a bicycle this Christmas…the mom breaks down in tears as she hugs each volunteer.

“For me, the opportunity to help others is probably what I get out of it most,” Ben says. “We are really required to help our brother, our neighbor. And to be able to offer someone a little hope, a little love, a little compassion…that’s what it’s all about.”

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