Organizers from the Salvation Army want to encourage everyone to help out this holiday season by donating items to the Angel Tree.
"We just want to make sure that a child isn't forgotten and that they are able to have a special toy on Christmas and so we are still needing 3,500 toys at least, so they'll have a least one toy," Salvation Army Major Thomas Riggs said.
Even though donations are down this year compared to previous years, some people stopped by the Angel Tree near Macy's at The Empire Mall to "pay it forward" on Tuesday afternoon.
"We are so fortunate to have so much stuff in our house and our kids have way too many toys and just to be able to take a little bit and give it to someone else who doesn't have anything and that one toy might be the only thing that they get. It just takes $10; it doesn't have to be a lot. Go buy a couple of things for someone less fortunate," Shelly Ahlers said.
It's important for Ahlers to give back because she can relate to those who will receive some of these gifts.
"I think it's really important because when I was younger this was the only gift we ever got and coming from a family that didn't have anything, my mom would always say she's going to find Santa, so she would leave and the next day we would have one gift and we got one gift every year and it wasn't until I turned 16 I found out they came from the Salvation Army," Ahlers said.
And she still remembers a gift she received several years ago.
"One of the gifts I got was a candle-making kit and that, to this day, I still have this candle-making kit," Ahlers said.
That inspired Shelly to not just donate toys, but more craft items and projects that the older kids can use.
"There's always a need for that older child and we like to get things for the older child, like maybe a watch or a nice jewel box, something like that. We have plenty of Barbies. We don't need any of those and a huge amount of stuffed animals, so we don't need those. But we need other toys that little kids would like to play with and even something a teenager might like to have, maybe that Twilight novel or something," Riggs said.
The Angel Tree is a good reminder this holiday season that it's better to give than receive.