MILTON – “A Blessing” is how Salvation Army officers in Milton described a recent toy donation from a family in New Colombia.

Lt. Kirsten Starnes said Mary and Michael Pentz of New Colombia recently donated hundreds of toys for distribution as part of the organization’s annual Angel Tree party aid program.

“They gathered some toys,” Starnes said. “They were motivated to do it this year because many had faced challenges. They knew the need was probably greater this year.”

She said the Pentz family purchased the items with their own funds.

“They brought hundreds and hundreds of toys,” Starnes said. “He filled our whole room upstairs with toys, backpacks for school supplies, DVDs, all kinds of things to help the children in our community, who may be in financial difficulty right now. . “

She, Lt. Jared Starnes and other members of the Salvation Army in Milton were surprised when the donation arrived.

“It has been a huge blessing for our Angel Tree program,” said Kirsten Starnes. “We served around 300 children last year.

“This year, we weren’t sure how things were going to go,” she continued. “There are rumors of a toy shortage. We were worried that there would be a good answer if people were given the opportunity to donate to the program.”

With the donation, Starnes said its assistance program was able to extend its deadline for late requests until Wednesday, December 1.

“We can confidently expect late requests,” she said.

Even with the Pentz family donation, Starnes said the Salvation Army still accepts donations to support the program.

“This year we really want to make sure that we don’t have to turn anyone away,” she said. “If you want to bring in toy donations, that means we don’t have to turn down a family with an unexpected need.”

In addition to seeking toy donations, Starnes said volunteers are needed to help with the annual item distribution, which will take place on Tuesday, December 21.

To volunteer with the Salvation Army in Milton, call 570-742-4231.

Starnes thanked everyone who supports the organization.

“Thank you to the community for the way they have helped us this year, throughout the season, to bless families in need,” she said. “We couldn’t have done this without the support of the community.”