The Christmas season is known as a time of giving.
One worthwhile cause that allows the donor to add a personal touch is The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree.
“The Angel Tree program is one of The Salvation Army’s highest-profile Christmas efforts,” said Lt. Keisha McMullin, a Greenwood Salvation Army corps officer. “We just want to ensure that all children on Christmas morning wake up with something under their Christmas trees and try to help ease the burden on the parents.”
Altrusa International of Greenwood partners with The Salvation Army each year to present the Angel Tree, which is located at the main branch of CB&S Bank, 820 W. Park Ave. The Christmas tree was decorated Monday with angels, each representing an area child age 12 and under.
“There are a lot of people in our community who can just make ends meet,” said Lynda Galbraith, chair of Altrusa’s Angel Tree Committee. “And for parents on minimum wage, it’s very tough to make your rent, your electricity, and the other necessities, the food on the table, and also buy Christmas gifts for your children. Do you go without something to give them the gifts?”
The children selected for Angel Tree are mostly from very low-income families or have parents who are experiencing a financial hardship.
Each angel features a child’s name, age, gender, clothing and shoe sizes and some of the child’s Christmas wishes, such as toys, books, games or a bicycle.
A minimum of $60 worth of gifts is recommended, but an amount greater may be spent on an angel.
“I’ve noticed that usually when someone is wanting to adopt an angel off of the tree they really study the angels,” said McMullin. “It’s personal for them.”
Galbraith said that some people will request an angel that is a certain age and gender. For example, some may ask for a 3-year-old boy or a 5-year-old girl.
“Quite often for a lot of families, if you have a daughter who is 5, then you’ll get 5-year-old girl,” Galbraith said.
The child will help shop for the angel.
“It includes the whole family,” said Galbraith. “I think that’s a great idea, because then the kids learn to help other people in need.”
McMullin said she has also noticed parents select angels that are the same age as their children.
“They will let the children do the shopping, and it’s teaching them to give back to the community,” she said. “It’s just a beautiful thing.”
Both Galbraith and McMullin said the Angel Tree program gives donors a personal connection to the angel, since they select the gifts themselves.
“I think that is one of the great things about it; you are actually making a physical effort,” said Galbraith.
When selecting an angel from the tree, a participant needs to list his or her name and phone number and the number of the angel on a clipboard beside the tree. This will help Altrusa keep track of the angels and ensure that each one will receive gifts.
After participants have shopped for their angels, gifts should be returned to CB&S Bank by Dec. 17. The presents should be gathered together in a gift bag or plastic bag with the angel tag attached. Both organizations also ask that the presents be unwrapped, since every gift is inspected to make sure it is age appropriate, and that no candy be added to the angels’ bags.
The Salvation Army also provides gifts for seniors citizens. Angel Trees for senior are located at Walmart and Greenwood Market Place. There is also an Angel Tree with children and senior angels located at Planters Bank.
“It’s our goal and prayer that all of these angels just disappear off of the trees, that the community just pulls together and adopts, adopts, adopts,” said McMullin.
For more information about the Angel Tree program, call The Salvation Army at 455-9679.
•Contact Ruthie Robison at 581-7235 or email@example.com.