Applications for toys are taken at the end of August when families are signing up for back-to-school help, and continue through November, said Capt. Christine Hinzman, whose husband, Timothy, is director of the Johnstown Salvation Army, 576 Vine St.
Eligible families are assigned tags containing children's names, ages, sizes and special wishes.
After donations are collected, they are brought to the former McCrory's building on Main Street in downtown Johnstown, where Hinzman
and a corps of volunteers place them on a huge grid, which is numbered chronologically according to Hinzman's master list of applicants.Hinzman
has constantly checked the toy recall list, but said she
hasn't spotted anything that raised red flags.
Thirty bicycles are parked along one wall.
"Wal-Mart employees volunteered their time to put the bikes together," Hinzman
Extra toys and clothes line other walls.The toys are sorted by age, and the clothes are sorted by gender and size.
"They will be matched up with families who haven't been adopted," Hinzman
"I'd say about 80 percent have been adopted.The hats and scarves and smaller toys I give for free."Hinzman
said 681 families are represented on the grid - 2,143 people in all, almost 1,500 of them children.
In addition to needy children, 125 senior citizens also will receive something extra for Christmas.
Some requests include simple necessities such as paper towels, facial tissues and toilet paper.
"They also will receive a meal voucher for Christmas," Hinzman