‘TWAS A FEW DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS AND ALL THROUGH THE CORPS . . .
It was just a few days before Christmas and The Salvation Army Brownsville Corps Community Center in Brooklyn looked as busy as Santa's workshop on Christmas Eve. From mid-afternoon to early evening on Friday, December 20th, Salvation Army staff at the center busily distributed "red boxes" to families in need during a Christmas party for youngsters from the center's after-school and daycare programs.
"Red boxes"? What's a "red box," you ask?
"Red boxes" are actually Red Boxes - or the centerpiece of a brand new holiday campaign, launched this year, by The Salvation Army Greater New York Division. Each Red Box contains a combination of various non-perishable foods, chocolates, hats, gloves, CDs, DVDs, games and more, all packed into a sturdy compact box, for families in need to take home and open on Christmas morning. The Red Box Campaign launched on December 3rd, "Giving Tuesday," and gathered additional steam through The Army's "Red Box" Radiothon with NewsTalk Radio WOR 710 AM on December 6th.
Lieutenants Rohan and Sheila Gage, Corps Officers of The Salvation Army Brownsville Corps Community Center, were extremely pleased with the Red Box campaign and its impact on the families they serve in the Brownsville community. "I think the Red Box kind of brings everybody together and lets everybody feel included on Christmas," said Lieutenant Rohan Gage, whose center distributed some 200 Red Boxes on December 20th. "It's not just for the little ones. There's something in there for everyone."
"The Red Box is the perfect complement to the Red Kettle," explained Denver Frederick, Director of Development & Community Relations for The Salvation Army Greater New York Division, referencing The Army's more familiar annual holiday campaign. "The Red Box is the evolution of where donors are coming from. Donors want transparency, to see something tangible that is making a profound impact on people's lives. The Red Box is a way of taking those kettle contributions and putting them into action in a very tangible way."
Youngsters and parents alike at the Brownsville Center were delighted to receive their Red Boxes --- a veritable "Christmas-in-a-Box" for the whole family. "I think there's a lot of stuff," said one youngster of the Red Box. "It's heavy!"
One recipient, a parent, described the Red Box as "a whole lot of goodies!"
Similar Red Box distributions will be taking place in Salvation Army centers around the Greater New York area in the days leading up to Christmas. These locations include The Salvation Army Superstorm Sandy Recovery Office in Island Park, Long Island, which assists the ongoing needs of survivors of the devastating fall 2012 storm. The office expects to distribute some 300 Red Boxes to Sandy families.
All together, more than 1,200 Red Boxes will be distributed from Salvation Army centers throughout New York City, Long Island, and the lower Hudson Valley.