Charitable organizations are spreading holiday cheer this week at a distribution center at Plaza Mayor, formerly Crossroads Mall in south Oklahoma City.
On Thursday, gifts donated through the Salvation Army's Angel Tree program were among those distributed.
A chaplain also is available, and brief church services are held periodically throughout the day. Salvation Army Capt. Carlyle Gargis spent some time Thursday comforting a woman who became emotional during her trip to the center.
“This is at the heart of what we do,” Gargis said. “It's sharing God's love in word and deed. As we're giving food and toys away we're also giving people Bibles and taking prayer requests.”
The Salvation Army of Central Oklahoma expects to serve about 5,000 people during the three days the center is open. About 1,000 bicycles are scheduled to be given away along with toys, clothes and food items. Pre- registered recipients check in and are taken to a box containing their items. A volunteer then helps them get the items to their cars.
Feed The Children volunteers also are working at the distribution center, providing food boxes to the Angel Tree gift recipients.
Feed The Children is holding a 12 Days of Christmas event expected to help another 6,000 people during the holidays. President Kevin Hagan said central Oklahoma's strong nonprofit sector is meeting the needs of people at an important time of the year.