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After reports emerged earlier this month that the Salvation Army was coming up short when it came to toy donations for its Adopt-A-Family program in Chicago, at least one area donation center reported a surge of donations which will help it provide gifts to some 1,200 children in need.
NBC Chicago reports that, as of last week, only 25 percent of the children and families on the Salvation Army Englewood center's list would be receiving gifts this year as toy donations have been down citywide.
That news apparently spurred Chicagoans into action as nearly all of those children won't be waking up to empty stockings Sunday morning.
"It was just incredible," Robin Anderson, a Salvation Army spokeswoman told NBC. "The smiles on people's faces, the 'Thank you's, .. the simple words are what are really important."
Last week, the Salvation Army reported that Chicago-area toy donations were "severely down." The Army typically distributes some 80,000 toys each year to needy area children.
The news comes as kettle donations to the Army have also been low -- down 10 percent in the Chicago compared to the previous year, the Chicago Tribune reported. A spokesman for the region blamed the country's economic struggles as well as a decrease in the number of bell ringers and kettle sites in the area for the drop.
At the same time, demand has been high. Specifically, food requests the group has received in some parts of the city have increased between 200 to 400 percent this year, according to the Tribune.
Some have also wondered whether the organization's contentious stance on LGBT rights -- the Army, according to its website, opposes same-sex relationships and some of its local chapters have lobbied against pro-gay legislation and allegedly carried out questionable hiring practices. The controversy was also addressed Saturday in a New York Times story.
Kettle donations last year in the Chicago area were also markedly down compared to 2009 numbers, the Windy City Times reported.
Regardless, donations to the Army's red kettle campaign may still be made either online or by phone (800-SAL-ARMY).