Spreading Holiday Cheer at The Salvation Army of Elgin

Feb 24, 2023

The holidays are a special time of year at The Salvation Army. It’s the season when bells are ringing, happiness is all around, and the spirit of giving is more prominent than any other time of year. But, for the Midwest, it’s also a time of bitter cold and harsh conditions. The winter wonderland many people associate with our corner of the world leaves many disparaged and struggling if they lack shelter and vital resources.

At The Salvation Army of Elgin, we do all we can to help those in our community who are struggling throughout the Christmas season. But it couldn’t have been made possible without the dedication of people like Melissa Miziniak and the Kalvin family.

Melissa, for several years, has dedicated her time to helping our organization with key logistics during Christmas. She is a staff accountant at PKF Mueller and devotes her earned vacation time each year to volunteer with our organization. Toy distribution is a vital part of what The Salvation Army does to help those struggling in the community. Children who would otherwise not have presents to open on such a magical morning are given the opportunity to participate in the Christmas spirit we all know and love. For several years, Melissa has devoted 2 weeks of her time (80 hours of volunteering) to help The Salvation Army of Elgin with logistics and other hurdles during the challenging season. Our work is made so much easier with her help and care.

While volunteering one’s time is integral to helping us accomplish our goals during the Christmas season, unique donations play a big role in helping make a positive impact on our community here in Elgin. The Kalvin family has donated 20 bikes for children in need of presents. While most donors send money, clothes, food items, etc., the bikes donated by the Kalvin family have a unique motivation. The heads of the Kalvin family, John and his wife Jolea, were deeply moved by the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting that occurred in 2012. Understanding that a tragedy like that could happen anywhere, even to their own children, they felt motivated to donate 20 bikes in honor of the victims every year since 2012. The bikes are symbolic of the victims of the shooting with 12 bikes donated for girls and 8 for boys. Over the years, the family has purchased 20 bikes from local retail stores and assembled them and now, they are donating the bikes to support the families and children served by the Elgin Corps. Their initial plan was to simply honor the Sandy Hook Elementary  victims that first year, but they have continued this tradition  for 10 years as an ongoing remembrance and to improve lives of children in their local community.

Without the tireless efforts of those in our community, the holiday season would be more difficult to make happen. Thanks to volunteers like Melissa Miziniak and donors like the Kalvin family, The Salvation Army of Elgin is well equipped to make every Christmas magical.

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