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Salvation Army turns to last-minute elves to save Christmas

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. —  For the first time ever, the Salvation Army Memphis organized a last-minute toy drive to take care of nearly 300 children not picked from the Angel Tree this year.

The Salvation Army is providing gifts to 5,500 children and senior citizens -- 10 percent more than last year.

The organization set up a trailer at the Kroc Center and for the last two days has been collecting  toys for kids ages toddler to 12.

"We hope to have all those gifts.  This warehouse will be empty by the end of Saturday," said Capt. Zach Bell.

The Angel Tree warehouse is already being set up for the annual giveaway Saturday.

"There are ton of bikes, basketball goals, TVs.  Everyone is going to wake up on Christmas morning and just marvel at what has taken place," said Bell.

The Salvation Army said it hopes to do even more next Christmas and will begin providing services and programs for its Angel Tree Families year-round.

"We're so pleased with what has been going on in our community with the Unite Way and the TTS, which is a Transition to Success program.  We are looking to using it with the Angel Tree program to be a springboard for that transition to success which is helping people come out of poverty altogether," said Bell.

Bell said they want to get to the root of the problem to make sure those families not only have a great Christmas, but a better life.