The goal of the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program is to ensure children don’t go without Christmas gifts for any reason. The turnout for volunteers is usually overwhelming, but this year they just aren’t showing up.
It’s now crunch time, and they need help. They need toys for good boys and girls who might not otherwise get something this holiday season.
Every empty square represents an angel in need.
“Each angel represents a child. And like this little one says Jose, and Jose needs shoes and a jacket. And his wish is a 16-inch bike,” said Major Gargis Charlotte with the Salvation Army.
The Salvation Army hopes to make each child’s wish come true. But with it just days before the deadline to return angel gifts.
There are still 1,500 angels waiting because of Hurricane Ian and inflation.
“It hit us really, really hard in many ways because a lot of our donors were affected,” Charlotte said.
The Salvation Army hopes many watching will step up like Ragan McCorkle and the people in her office did. They got to together to collect and delivery a van full of toys.
“You see the parents and they go through a lot of stuff and I feel like we really need to take a look at the kids and help them out as well because their kids you want to make them happy,” McCorkle said. “It was a lot of fun. I really liked helping pick out like the bike and stuff and making sure you know he got his favorite color and the right shoe size.”
Along with gifts, they also need more volunteers.
The Salvation Army elves I spoke with said the experience is well worth it.
“It’s an incredible feeling. You have no idea how good it feels when you walk out here at the end of the day, knowing that you did for other people,” said Brian Jeschelnik, a volunteer with the Salvation Army Angel Tree program.
The Salvation Army has extended the deadline to adopt an angel to next Thursday, Dec. 13. Volunteers will deliver gifts to families on the 19th.
“When you see the smiles on the little kid’s face, faces as they come here,” said Dick Gab, a volunteer with the program. “And the parents picking up their souls grateful and so thankful. It’s such a blessing.