Merry Christmas and Thank-you!

Dec 13, 2023

The sounds of “Merry Christmas and Thank-you” were heard at The Salvation Army in Benton Harbor from hundreds of families Dec. 12 and 13.

Families lined up in the hallways and out the door for the first day of toy distribution. It was 38 degrees however the wind chill made it feel much colder for those waiting in line.

*Toni and her children have been homeless since she lost her job and have been couch surfing with different friends and relatives. She says she wasn’t sure how she would be able to afford gifts for her six-year-old son and four-year-old daughter. “My son is old enough; he knows that things are tough and isn’t expecting anything for Christmas. He is such a sweet boy and all he asked for was a pair of pajamas. He has no idea he’s getting these toys; he will be so excited! It’s so selfless and kind that The Salvation Army is able to help. It means a lot, there really aren’t enough words to say how much I appreciate it.”

Lieutenants Mario & Melissa Bledsoe have served as the Pastors/Corps Officers in Benton Harbor which serves Van Buren West Berrien counties, since June of 2022. While she and volunteers including those from Spectrum Community Services, helped families indoors, he spent the day outside making hot dogs, brats and hamburgers for families as they came in for assistance. For many, it served as the lunch and dinner, they otherwise would not have had.

In all, more than 400 families received help, including *Brit, another homeless single mother who has a 14-year-old son. “Even though we live on the streets, I am blessed,” she said. “I am blessed this Christmas, because of The Salvation Army.”

*Name changed for client confidentiality

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