Volunteers from around the River Bend assembled at 12th Street Presbyterian Church in Alton to first collect and then sort overflowing Community Christmas boxes picked up early Tuesday morning.
United Way associates and area volunteers arrived at the collection point around 7 a.m. and promptly divided up into teams to collect the boxes from 117 different sites — some as far away as Hardin, Brussels, even Cahokia.
For the second year, Steve Ralston of Buske Lines Inc. donated the use of a 21-foot enclosed trailer to make the pick-ups.
"Our first load completely filled the trailer with toys and bikes," said Ralston, who was taking a break from sorting. "I wanted to be involved so that I can help give back to the community — I’ve been lucky and this is a good time to share with others less fortunate."
Looking over the mounds of clothing, stacks of canned goods, and towers of toys, Amy Sutherland, coordinator of the campaign for the United Way, was pleased with the campaign’s results.