Salvation Army Begins Angel Tree Registration In Rockbridge

The Salvation Army has begun accepting applications for its annual Angel Tree program as the local charity gets ready to step its operations up for the holiday season.

According to Salvation Army officials, the annual program — which provides Christmas gifts for the children of area low income families struggling through the holiday — has been a huge success in years past, and with economic times still extremely tough for many in our area, this year's Angel Tree will be no exception.

“The Angel Tree program has helped so many families that are struggling just to make ends meet,” said Salvation Army Officer Captain Karl Dahlin. “It's a sad thing to think about, to realize a lot of these children wouldn't otherwise have had a single present under the Christmas tree come the holiday. And with the economy still struggling, we're expecting the demand to be just as high as or higher than last year.”

Dahlin said area families wanting to apply for assistance through the Angel Tree program can do so by picking up an application at Social Services or at Lexington Wal-Mart and mailing it to P.O. Box 877 Covington, Va 24426. The application process is simple, according to Captain Dahlin, and for some area children it could be the difference between waking up with gifts under the tree Christmas morning and waking up to nothing. The application asks what the children might want for Christmas, including clothes sizes and shoe sizes. There are 350 slots in the program and the applicants will be taken in the order they are mailed in.

Once the names and gift ideas are collected and put on the Angel Trees in the form of cards, area shoppers will have the opportunity to brighten a child’s holiday by choosing one and purchasing items for them.

“We kept the volunteers busy distributing over 3,100 brand new toys to children and over 1,600 articles of clothing. We knew it would be a tough year for the program and it was confirmed when 45% of the Angels went unadopted last year.” said Captain Dahlin. “Thankfully, thanks to donations in the Red Kettles were able to supply new toys in abundance for every angel so none would go without.”

In addition to toys and clothing we were able to help families who were in danger of losing vital utilities because they have had to juggle paying their bills with buying food. Not only do we help with groceries but we offer assistance with their utilities if they are in danger of being without heat, electricity or water. For 79 families The Salvation Army prevented cutoffs by helping them to catch up.

“The plan, as of right now, is to have the trees located at the same places as last year,” said Dahlin. “However, we really haven't gotten that far yet, so there could be some minor changes. The kickoff date for the angels to go out to local stores will be announced early November. ”

For more information on the Angel Tree program, call 962-6206 or stop by their office, located at 115 S. Lexington Ave.


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