Alton daycare mobilizes families to support Salvation Army food pantry

By: Danni Eickenhorst, Content Specialist, Midland Division

Toddle Towne, a local Alton daycare and preschool center has been in Alton since 1988, and having watched the residents of Alton battle economic hardships and flooding over that time period, the center believes strongly in supporting local non-profits such as The Salvation Army.  Sharon Velloff, the Beginners Program Coordinator for Toddle Towne of Alton, coordinates Toddle Towne’s annual summer food drive, and has found success this year by motivating and mobilizing families to participate.

Traditionally the school has not seen a great deal of success in their summer food drives, collecting 7 to 10 cans in a given drive, but after seeing a story on a local NBC-affiliate about the great number of people The Salvation Army serves, and its increased need for non-perishable canned goods, Velloff felt more determined than ever to see their summer food drive make an impact.

“I pushed it and made a competition out of it,” says Velloff, who had each age level compete against each other, with the winning group to be awarded an ice cream party. “I found that the adults were just as competitive as the children,” she recalls

This year, the school was able to collect more than 350 canned goods to be given to The Salvation Army’s Alton corps. Ultimately, it was the preschoolers who brought in the most canned goods and non-perishable food items to the drive, but Velloff and her team were so impressed with the generosity of the families that this year, all of the children at Toddle Towne participated in the party.

The Salvation Army’s Alton Worship and Community Center serves more than 250 families monthly with groceries, utility assistance and more, in addition to providing homeless services and children’s programming.

 “There are so many people out of work right now, and [The Salvation Army is] there to help them big time.”

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