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Changes to Salvation Army GIFT program include a drive-thru event and preregistration

The GIFT program provides gifts for children up to the age of 14.
The GIFT program provides gifts for children up to the age of 14.(ktuu)
Published: Nov. 6, 2020 at 4:08 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A program that helps Anchorage families in need enjoy the holidays is going to look a little different this year. Peter Pemberton with the Salvation Army said the GIFT program provides gifts for children up to the age of 14 and a holiday meal for families. This year, the program is turning into a drive-thru event to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

For the first time, parents will not be permitted to pick gifts indoors. Instead, personalized packages with food and gifts will be delivered to their cars. Pemberton said they expect to serve 13,000 people this year, which is why they’re insisting parents preregister for the event.

“One of the main reasons that registration is so critical this year is because parents will be telling our registration intake personnel the types of gifts that their children would like, their sizes and all that,” said Pemberton. “We will have all these wonderful volunteer shoppers who will shop for individuals throughout the day… So they’ll take the person’s registration and they’ll fill those bags and those boxes with the things that are appropriate to that family.”

GIFT will take place on Dec. 17 and Dec. 18 at a location that has yet to be announced. Registration for the event is happening now.

In-person registration is at the Salvation Army’s Community Center Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Registration ends on Nov. 21 at 7 p.m.

Parents are asked to bring a photo ID for anyone 18 years or older in the household as well as documentation for all children such as a birth certificate, permanent fund dividend application or Office of Children’s Services or school print-out that shows the child and parent or guardian’s name. Proof of address, such as a utility bill, is also required.

Pemberton said this year, Toys for Tots will be donating all toys collected to the GIFT program. Individuals who would like more information or to donate to the program can find out more at the Salvation Army website.

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