The Salvation Army is well known for its Christmas spirit.

And during its annual Christmas Cheer Distribution on Wednesday and Thursday, the organization gave food and toys to nearly 2,000 families, said business manager George Lenkner. He said that figure has been consistent for the last 10 years.

About 100 volunteers bustled around the York City building, doling out 50-pound boxes of food - from produce to turkeys to snack cakes - to the pre-registered recipients. And for families with little ones, they gave away bags of dolls, board games, bicycles and toy trucks to be given as Christmas presents.

For volunteers and recipients alike, the distribution sent a clear message that the holidays are almost here.

Volunteers: "I just think it's good to give back to people at Christmastime," said volunteer Pat Snyder, 77, of Springettsbury Township.

She's been volunteering for about 25 years, but it's not just a Christmas activity. She and her husband work with the Salvation Army year-round, she said.

"When I was in the hospital, the first people I heard from were Salvation Army people," she said. "They're just good people, and the money always goes where it's supposed to."

And volunteer Chandra Lomax, 49, of Manchester Township also wanted to give back to the organization that gave to her.

"I came here today because the Salvation Army has helped me throughout," she said.

She helped distribute toys to families, along with other members of York City's IV Sisters Motorcycle and Social Club.

"This is our way of giving back to the community and helping out," Lomax said.

She said she remembers being on the receiving side as a single mom, picking up Christmas presents for her daughter.

"It was a big relief," she said.

Moms: And it was the same for York City moms Umajah Ellis and Zenaida Lara.

Ellis, 22, received a holiday meal box and toys for her 3-year-old son.

"I'm really happy because I couldn't afford to buy my son anything for Christmas," she said.

And Lara, 28, received Barbie dolls and a snowball launcher for her daughters, ages 2 and 6, and son, age 8.

She said it was her first year receiving Christmas toys for her children. She usually buys them each one gift, but couldn't afford to do so this year, she said.

"I'm happy because my kids are getting more than one gift," Lara said.

The Salvation Army's programs touch a lot of people, she said.

"It's a good thing," Lara said.

Donations needed: Two weeks ago, the organization put out an urgent call for donations. Its Christmas Kettle Campaign had brought in just $93,000 - less than half of its goal of $240,000.

But it has gotten a boost in that time, pushing the total to $154,000, Lenkner said. He said he's hoping this weekend brings more donations in so the organization can come closer to its goal.

"The Saturday before Christmas is always a big day" Lenkner said.

Last year, the Salvation Army raised $221,000 during the campaign. This year's ends on Tuesday, Christmas Eve.

- Reach Mollie Durkin at mdurkin@yorkdispatch.com.