Imagery of Regent people and campus

Volunteers Give Tidings of Toys

By Brett Wilson | December 20, 2013

Lewis Reckline assisting a Salvation Army Toys for Tots shopper.

While many are absorbed into the hustle and bustle of Christmas, members of the Regent University community set aside a day of work to serve others. On Monday, Dec. 16, faculty, staff and students gave their time and service by volunteering at the Salvation Army (SA) Toys for Tots Christmas Depot, so families from the Hampton Roads community could give toys to their young ones.

"The biggest impact is that we get to actually take time out of the office and work together—we're serving people from all over each of the cities that make up Hampton Roads," said Tracy Gregorio, vice president of Enrollment Management and IT.

This was Gregorio's seventh year participating in the holiday outreach; her favorite role to take part in during the day is serving as a "runner," guiding shoppers from the depot to their vehicles.

"I like to take people to their cars because they've just had a lot of fun and it's a joy to help them load their gifts and get to know them a little better," said Gregorio.

School of Communication & the Arts (COM) student, Lewis Reckline, through his years of working with the SA, has had a lifetime to learn about the organization and those that they assist, especially during the holiday season.

"I think I speak for a lot of volunteers that the thing we look forward to the most is the reaction on the parents' faces when they see that their children get to have a good Christmas," said Reckline.

Reckline's work with the SA is spurred from generations of volunteers in his own family. He explained that he was raised in a "Salvation Army Home"—with his parents and grandparents both serving as SA officers, and attending the Salvation Army Church.

"The more I grew up and saw how much good the Salvation Army does, I wanted to help out," said Reckline. "Once I get my career started I really hope that I can continue to help, because they do great work and they've been around for a long time."

Though he serves as the public relations assistant for the SA, Reckline's week was spent working "behind the scenes" as he performed the "tedious" task of matching shoppers' numbers to their correlating Angel Tree boxes, and he knows his work at the depot made a difference.

"I'm fine being back here handing out boxes, seeing people smile and then walking away knowing that they're going to have a good Christmas," said Reckline.

Cora Flottman, senior enrollment counselor, played a more visible role through her day of volunteering. She spent the afternoon calling those participating in the event to meet their personal shoppers, guiding them through the aisles of toys and gifts.

This was Flottman's second year volunteering for SA, and she was touched by many of the individuals who expressed their thankfulness to her before they began their shopping experience.

"My favorite part is always interacting with the men and women who come through. One woman passed me and tearfully expressed gratitude," said Flottman. "She had yet to step though into the room with the presents—it was a beautiful reminder to me, as a child of God, to live in anticipation of heaven and to walk through this earth with a similar gratitude."


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