Something for every child

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God delivers a “loaves and fishes” miracle when supplies fall short in Reno.

The line of people waiting for Christmas assistance extends outside the Reno Salvation Army. Photo by Janene Zielinski

“It seemed like a lot of toys when we saw the pile at the beginning of the first day of a planned four days of distribution,” said Major Janene Zielinski, Reno (Nev.) corps officer.

“But at the end of that day, after serving about 750 families with multiple members, we realized we weren’t going to make it through even the next day for kids older than age 5.”

So it seemed. God, however, had a Christmas miracle planned for Reno. As leaders made plans to solicit large toy purchases, donors started streaming through the doors of the Christmas warehouse bringing toys—not just a few toys, but hundreds, and in one case over 1,000 in one load!

Zielinski and others began to call it the “loaves and fishes” Christmas. At the end of day two they declared a Christmas miracle that every child was well taken care of. At the end of day they remained amazed at the “just enough” aspect of the toys for older children. By the end of day four the toy sorters were proud to still have a nice selection on the older kids’ tables, with several dozen boxes of toys left over for next year.

In all, 2,880 families with about 9,000 children ages unborn to 17 received Christmas gifts, provided and multiplied by God’s plan.

After its Christmas dinner, the Reno Salvation Army distributed more toys to the kids who came with their families, along with hundreds of coats, gloves and mittens—everything the corps had stored for the winter because the need was so great.

Later, the corps received an unexpected call to come pick up several hundred coats from a local coat drive.

“The closet is full again,” said Zielinski. “Our faith is full again. We were faithful to share, God provided for the need and we all received the blessing!”

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