RALEIGH — Get ready for the sound of bells.
Charitable organizations across the county are launching their donation programs for the holiday season, including the Salvation Army.
For the second year, the Salvation Army will team with Wal-Mart for the “Fill the Truck” campaign, which asks shoppers to donate toys and coats for children.
The Salvation Army of Wake County hopes to collect toys and coats for nearly 9,000 children this holiday season. Starting after Thanksgiving, shoppers can pick up a list of suggested items at the doors of local Wal-Mart stores throughout the county, then drop off their purchases as they leave.
“It means a whole lot because of the toys and because of the awareness it brings to the community,” said Pete Costas, commanding officer for the Wake branch of the Salvation Army.
The efforts in Wake had a spotlight shined on them last week when singer Chanté Moore visited the Wal-Mart at Triangle Town Center to promote the “Fill the Truck” partnership, which takes place in communities across the country.
The event also brought out longtime volunteers for the Salvation Army.
Steve Motter and his children have volunteered for a decade, showing up to ring the organization’s trademark bells and collect donations.
When Motter was growing up, his father always dropped money in the red Salvation Army bucket tended by volunteers outside stores throughout the holiday season. For Motter, the bells came to symbolize the holidays.
It wasn’t until Motter was much older that his father told him the story of a Christmas during the Great Depression when his family was struck with scarlet fever. The children weren’t expecting presents at all, but the Salvation Army showed up on their doorstep with wooden toys.
That story is part of what keeps Motter volunteering, and he hopes the experience will strengthen his own children’s commitment to helping others.
“It’s something that I hope they’ll continue to do and pass on to their kids,” he said.
Other holiday donation programs include a blanket and non-perishable food drive for the Raleigh Rescue Mission. Donation boxes will be placed throughout Triangle Town Center.