Christmas came a little early for the Salvation Army of Winston-Salem.
[pullquote]it’s better to give than to receive[/pullquote]The agency, which is supporting 2,700 local families with gifts of toys and clothes this holiday season, got a much-needed donations boost last week when Nathan Tabor backed a delivery truck packed with toys into the Salvation Army’s Christmas Warehouse on Peters Creek Parkway.
Tabor is the CEO of TVC Media and owner of Country Auto Sales and several apartment complexes, but is perhaps best known for his work with the Forsyth County Republican Party, which he has led during critical campaign seasons. He and his wife, Jordan, have supported a variety of different efforts both locally and internationally to ensure that children have gifts under their Christmas trees.
“Sixteen years ago, the Bible verse ‘it’s better to give than to receive’ really just hit home that, if you’re in a situation where you can help others in need, you should. It really just grew from that,” said Tabor, who has unsuccessfully run for public office several times.
In the early years, Tabor collected toys for patients at Brenner Children’s Hospital and an orphanage in the Ukraine. This is the second year that the Tabor family has supported the Salvation Army with in-kind donations of toys and Bibles, which Tabor estimates have a combined value of roughly $40,000.
The Tabors use a variety of methods to collect the donations, from organizing drives at a handful of local companies to the annual Christmas party that they host at their home, where the roughly 120 attendees are asked to bring toys for the campaign. The Tabor home is known for its impressive Christmas lights display, which Tabor says total more than 125 thousand lights this year. The family hosts a Salvation Army red kettle outside the home at several points during the season to help garner funds for the agency, and their seven-year old daughter, Abigail, sometimes sells hot chocolate to benefit the Salvation Army. Abigail, a second grader at Noble Academy in Greensboro, has been a part of the campaign all her life.
“That is one of the reasons that we really got heavily involved. We wanted to teach her that not everyone has a comfortable life,” Tabor said. “As long as we have the means and she has the means, I want her to help others because you never know when you might need help.”
Ellen Bliven, a spokesperson for the Salvation Army, said the agency depends upon the generosity of community members to help it keep the promises it makes to local families.
“We take applications, and we commit to those families that, ‘yes, we’re going to help you,’ but then our next step is a leap of faith that the community is going to support us in our time of need,” Bliven said. “People like Nathan Tabor make it happen.”
Major James Allison, who took over leadership of the local agency last summer, says the Tabor family’s generosity is indicative of the giving spirit he has witnessed throughout the Twin City.
“Winston-Salem is special, no doubt,” declared Allison, who has served the agency for more than 35 years. “It’s probably the most giving community that I’ve ever had the privilege to serve in … Nathan is a huge part (of that). He’s one of many partners that are doing toy drives for us.”
The Salvation Army of Winston-Salem is in the midst of its most ambitious fundraising program to date, Allison said. The agency has set a goal of raising $450,000 through the red kettle campaign this year. As of last week, it was less than halfway to its goal, but Allison said he felt confident that the community would rise to the occasion before the campaign’s end on Dec. 24.
“We’re so fortunate and grateful to all of our continual donors who continuously step up,” he stated. “The important thing to remember is there’s no such thing as a small donation because all donations add to the sum total.”
New York City native Holli Goodwin said she too has been impressed with the heart of the Winston-Salem community. Goodwin relocated to the Twin City from Georgia earlier this year with her six children. The family spent just over a month in the Salvation Army Center of Hope, a shelter for families, before Goodwin was able to land a job as a floor associate at Target and move her clan into their own place. The family has maintained close ties to the Salvation Army and will be among those who will receive toys from the agency this year.
Allison said anyone who makes a donation to the agency is making a difference in the lives of families like Goodwin’s.
“We can promise you a good return on your investment: smiling faces, wide, bright eyes on Christmas day,” he remarked. “What more can you ask for?”
For more information about the Salvation Army or to make a contribution, visit www.salvationarmycarolinas.org or call 336-723-6366.