Entering The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Training Facility Saturday, Dec. 5, volunteers came upon a table lined with zip codes. Under each zip code was a stack of residences in all directions of Indianapolis that volunteers could visit to give away gift bags for this year’s Gift of Warmth distribution event.

Gift of Warmth focuses on giving a little holiday cheer to the elderly, the physically disabled and those who are, in some way or another, shut-in their homes. Some of the gift recipients are people recommended by community organizations or visiting nurses. They spread this cheer by visiting and giving away Christmas gift bags to people in the community.

Last Wednesday volunteers came to wrap and assemble the gifts bags which included such gifts as blankets, teddy bears and snacks.

Volunteers, new and old to the event, came out to help with the distribution. Once volunteers signed in, they were given the option of where to visit. They were asked to take notes of any concerning circumstances that the gift recipients are living inwhen dropping off the gifts. One example would be whether or not a resident had heat in their home. This way The Salvation Army can be aware of any assistance they may be able to provide for them.

Third year volunteer of Gift of Warmth, Lew Skinner, first heard of the event from the Coats for Kids Campaign.  

“It’s been enlightening,” Skinner said about helping with this event.

Skinner remarks how appreciative people are to receive the gifts. “It makes you realize how many needy people there are.”

Skinner and a friend delivered fifty gift bags and then returned for additional gifts to deliver.

Angela Palmer, a volunteer of the event for the first time, brought her two teenage daughters and their friend to help with the distribution.

“My kids love to volunteer,” Palmer said. “They love to help others.”

Palmer and her daughters also came back for more gift bags to distribute once they had already handed out 34 gifts.

Gift of Warmth is a yearly event and is just one of the ways that The Salvation Army plans to help the community of Indianapolis every Christmas season.