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7Everday Hero: Long-time volunteer helps makes Christmas bright for thousands in Aurora

Posted at 8:34 AM, Dec 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-10 10:33:59-05

Imagine having to gather 25,000 toys this Christmas. It sounds like a job fit for Santa. But The Salvation Army is up for the challenge. 

Denver metro area Salvation Army outlets will try to provide thousands of toys for children in need this holiday season. It is a big job that requires a lot of donations and volunteers. 

7Everyday Hero Melinda Howell gives her time at the Salvation Army Aurora Corps Community Center.

"She is here every morning at 7:30," said Sam LeMar with The Salvation Army of Aurora. "We love Miss Melinda. She is a beautiful soul."  

Howell helps in every aspect of what The Salvation Army does to serve others. 

"Well, I feel like I am helping people," Howell said. "And there are so many people in need." 

She often helps in the Salvation Army food pantry, which serves 400 to 700 families. 

Howell also helps sort those 25,000 toys for Christmas. 

"This Christmas, we're helping 1,050 families which translates to 2,700 kids just in the Aurora area," LeMar said. 

The Salvation Army has been serving communities since 1865. Howell herself received assistance years ago. 

"I came to The Salvation Army because I had a grandson who was born with his brain outside of his head," Howell said. "So, we came here to get help for medicine for him." 

Howell has been helping at the Aurora Corps ever since, giving her time every week for more than 25 years. 

"I am here every week," she said. "At Christmastime, I put in seven to eight hours a day."

LeMar said Melinda is one of the most dependable volunteers they've ever had.  

Howell helps to exemplify the spirit of The Salvation Army and to help those who are suffering. 

"It gives me peace of mind knowing I am doing the Lord's work in trying to help people get what they need," said Howell. 

Mitch Jelniker anchors Denver7 in the mornings from 4:30-7 a.m. He also features a different 7Everyday Hero each week on Denver7. Follow Mitch on Facebook here and Twitter here. Nominate a 7Everyday Hero here.