The Salvation Military is distributing meals, clothes, and toys to needy Aurora households this vacation season

AURORA, IL (WLS) – As Congress battles to provide relief to Americans suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic, local efforts are stepping up to help those in need.

On Thursday, the Salvation Army supplied toys to more than 1,2,000 families in the western suburbs.

With car for car and car for car, Aurora families get a helping hand this holiday season.

“I needed a little extra help buying gifts for my children,” said Judit Ramirez.

At a time when they need it most, hundreds of families are getting clothes, toys, groceries and more from the Salvation Army through their Angel Tree program.

“At the moment I am not working because of COVID-19 and I just want something for my children,” said Esmaralda Arellamo.

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And Salvation Army captain Gabriela Rangel said there had been more calls for help than usual because of the pandemic.

But donations are also a hit this year. There were some concerns about how many families they could help. In the end, the church came forward and opened their hearts and gave what they could.

“All of our nonprofit … food banks and other things are very stressed right now, but they are doing their part like everyone else, so everyone is reinforcing,” said Alderman Carl Franco of Aurora’s 5th District. “I’ve seen more volunteers than ever before. Although the demand is greater, the community understands that and they’re ready to get involved.”

The Salvation Army said they are still accepting donations.

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