12/15/13 — Salvation Army still looking for donations for Angel Tree

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Salvation Army still looking for donations for Angel Tree

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on December 15, 2013 1:50 AM

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With less than two weeks left before Christmas morning, the Salvation Army is trying to get the word out about its Angel Tree program -- an effort created to ensure hundreds of needy Wayne County children will have a present to open on Christmas. There is still time to donate to the cause, and trees are located across the county.

With just a week to go until Christmas, there are still tags on the Salvation Army's Angel Trees. The trees contain the names of local needy children who probably wouldn't get anything under their tree if not for the Salvation Army and the generosity of Wayne County residents.

Although none of the more than 600 children will be left out, the more tags individuals, businesses and organizations take, the less the Salvation Army has to buy out of its fund. And that means more money to help other people with emergency needs throughout the year.

"Even though we set the deadline for returning the Angel Tree tags at Dec. 13, we still have people brining in tags," said Salvation Army Lt. Julie Igleheart. "And that's fine. The more people bring in, the less the Salvation Army has to buy."

Whatever hasn't been donated by Thursday will be purchased by the Salvation Army.

"Times are tough this year, and we can tell it at the kettle as well as with the Angel Trees," Mrs. Igleheart said. "We're really lacking in clothing for children in sizes 8 to 16.

"And we're looking for coats. A lot of parents asked for coats this year. A lot of parents asked for shoes, too. Some children want comforters for their beds. The moms said the kids share a room and they want to have something they can call their own. Both of the kids in the room might have the same kind of bedspread, but if they have a different kind of comforter, they can put that on their bed."

Mrs. Igleheart said that Hello Kitty items are very popular with the girls this year. And the boys are still into remote-controlled cars, footballs and basketballs.

Some wanted bicycles and a local man donated quite a few of them, Mrs. Igleheart added.

A local car lot donated a couple of car seats to the Angel Tree program, which was good because some parents had asked for them this year.

"They're in the baby seat and the parents can't afford to get the next size," Mrs. Igleheart said. "We still need a couple more, but we're praying that God's going to provide."

If you don't want to go to one of the Angel Trees and take a tag, you can always go out and buy an outfit and drop it off at the Salvation Army -- or you can simply make a monetary donation to the organization to purchase items with.

"I had a lady call me and ask what she could do," Mrs. Igleheart said. "I told her we need clothing for older kids. She said she didn't have a lot, but was going to go out and get some stuff.

"Then we had another lady come in the other day who had bought 15 pairs of pajamas for boys. She said she always remembered that her mom had pajamas for her for Christmas eve, and her mom let her open that present and put her pajamas on and go to bed in them. She woke up Christmas day in her new pajamas."

The Angel Tree program is for children 12 and younger.

"We want to see a child smile on Christmas morning," Mrs. Igleheart said.

One business that's had an Angel Tree since 1998 is Gold's Gym.

"We do it every year, but especially this year when the Salvation Army is up 100 children from last year," said area manager Danny Miller. "It's become a symbol in the club, and the members take ownership in the tree."

Miller said it's a great feeling to be able to help these children, and issued a challenge to other businesses.

"We actually want to challenge other businesses next year to do a tree," he said. "It's not hard to do. We put our tree up three or four days before Thanksgiving and even decorate it."

Distribution day will be Friday, but it will be a little different than previous years.

"There will be X amount of people coming in every 30 minutes to pick up gifts," Mrs. Igleheart said. "This year, there will be a five- to ten-minute gospel presentation at the beginning before they go through the line. We're really excited about the gospel presentation."

Then the parents will go through the line and pick up their children's gifts. They will also get a box of food that includes a turkey product and other Christmas-type foods.

Angel Trees are located at Gold's Gym, K&W Cafeteria at the mall and Fitness Extreme, or you can drop off items or monetary donations at the Salvation Army.