Salvation Army Camden Kroc Center, Freedom Mortgage distribute toys during annual Christmas Toy Shop

The Salvation Army Camden Kroc Center helps provide gifts for thousands of children throughout the Camden community each year. And, this year, the demand is at one of its highest levels yet, as many families continue to face challenges from the ongoing impacts of inflation, evictions and job loss.

The Kroc Center’s Christmas Toy Shop offers parents and caretakers the opportunity to choose free toys, clothing, books, food boxes and other items — ensuring that their children wake up with presents under the Christmas tree.

In the first two days of the Toy Shop, the Kroc Center served 594 families and handed out 2,762 toys for 1,383 children. More than 60% of the clients seeking assistance from the Kroc Center this holiday season have a household income of less than $20,000, and nearly a quarter of the clients are seeking help from the Salvation Army for the first time.

These numbers not only represent the immense need for assistance, but also the importance of donors and corporate partners who help the Salvation Army meet the demand and ease the burdens of struggling families in the community.

“Aside from the daily demands and financial burdens on families, there are many coming in with health struggles, homelessness, job insecurity, grandma raising her grandchildren, for various reasons. We are trying to help lighten the load of worry for all the families we can,” Maj. Lolita Sanchez, Camden Kroc Center administrator, said. “We are grateful for corporations like Freedom Mortgage and individuals who come alongside us to bring hope and support to our community. You all make this a very special place to live, love and serve.”

Freedom Mortgage, one of the largest full-service independent mortgage companies in the U.S., is the lead donor for the Camden Kroc Center’s Toy Shop, providing thousands of toys and a team of 35 dedicated volunteers to personally assist shoppers as they look to make the holidays special for their families.

“At Freedom Mortgage, we are focused on helping service members, veterans and those with low down payments become homeowners. Throughout Freedom Mortgage’s 33 years, we have consistently partnered with nonprofits such as the Salvation Army to support many communities across the country, especially where our employees live and work,” Mike Patterson, Freedom Mortgage’s chief operating officer, said.

The Camden Kroc Center, which is entering its 10th year of service, remains committed to bringing hope and support to individuals and families in need — both during the holidays and throughout the year.

To help ensure that the Salvation Army can continue to provide vital services throughout Camden and New Jersey, supporters can donate online here.

Every donation provides help and hope, and all gifts stay within the community in which they are given.