COLUMBUS, Ohio –
Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime’s Level III Mentoring Program Class of 2020 has been at it again, continuing their efforts to be more involved in the community.
The protégés stepped away from the workplace to volunteer with the Salvation Army’s Christmas Cheer assistance program Dec. 19.
Christmas Cheer is one of the largest holiday aid programs in central Ohio said Public Relations Coordinator Kristin Hampton-Harmon. The program offers families a holiday food box and presents for children under 14 years of age. Families in need of toys and food signup at one of the local Salvation Army centers prior to the event. This year the event served 22,665 individuals, 6,421 families providing 38,662 gifts and 6,618 stocking stuffers to 11,545 children.
Since 1885, the Salvation Army of Central Ohio provides those in need with clothing, furniture, food, utility bill assistance, job training, after school tutoring, adult rehabilitation and many more services.
Protégés volunteered to act as cart runners and forklift drivers during the Christmas Cheer distribution at the Lausche Building on the Ohio State Fairgrounds.
Protégés took part in serving an average of 150 families per hour.
The group was able to give back, providing smiles, encouraging words, exchanges of laughter and even some hugs.
Many of the families shared stories of their personal circumstances and struggles. It was common to hear recipients speak about volunteering in past years and now finding themselves in need. One of DLA’s Protégés shared a personal journey of coming full circle; expressing how moving it was to reflect on past struggles and being grateful for the opportunity to now give back.
More than 2,000 volunteers helped make the charity’s Christmas Cheer and Adopt-a-Family programs a success, said Jill Zelle, the Christmas Cheer volunteer coordinator for the Salvation Army in Central Ohio. More than 6,300 families received food and toys this year - families who without the Salvation Army would not have had toys for their children or food for Christmas dinner.
Consensus from the group was that the experience was fun and rewarding and an important reminder of all that they’ve been blessed with.