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Drive-thru toy distribution at East Stroudsburg Salvation Army

Hundreds of families will have toys to put under their trees this year, thanks to a toy distribution at the East Stroudsburg Salvation Army.

EAST STROUDSBURG, Pa. — One by one, vehicles pulled up to the Salvation Army in East Stroudsburg on Tuesday, and volunteers loaded up trunks with pre-packaged gifts for families in need in Monroe County.

"I think it's a wonderful program. We've been doing it for a couple of years, and it's a big blessing," said Denise Davis, Stroudsburg.

Normally, the toy distribution takes place inside the gymnasium at the Salvation Army, and people pick what they want for their children.

Because of the pandemic, that couldn't happen this year. Instead, families registered online and picked up gifts drive-through style.

Maj. Gilbert Parkhurst says the number of families in need this year has grown, and it took a lot of planning to keep everyone safe.

"This has been quite the year. We had to make a lot of changes, like we said before, with a lot of things, but we are still going. We are still able to distribute the toys, and we are very excited about that," said Maj. Parkhurst.

Because of the pandemic, the East Stroudsburg Salvation Army wasn't sure how successful this toy distribution would be. But thanks to the generous community, the organization was able to serve 500 families this holiday season.

"There was a possibility just a short time ago that this wouldn't take place, but to be able to receive their food last week and toys for the kids this week, it really makes Christmas merry, merry and bright," said Parkhurst.

People who came to pick up presents say this toy distribution means a lot to many families, especially this year with so many unknowns.

"I am so happy for my children. They will be so happy to get toys. They will be so happy, thankful, and grateful. I am happy for them," said Medynah Beyah, Tobyhanna.

The East Stroudsburg Salvation Army will begin day two of the toy distribution on Wednesday.