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Salvation Army's Angel Tree needs some helping hands

By Kellie Bramlet , LubbockOnline.com

1450 days ago   Article ID# 772948
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The Salvation Army

LUBBOCK , TEXAS (LubbockOnline.com) - The Salvation Army is asking the Lubbock community to show a little bit more Christmas spirit this year.

The angel tree currently located at South Plains Mall has long been a Salvation Army tradition. But this winter the army has more children in need of Christmas gifts than in years past. And while the number of participants willing to buy them gifts has also increased, it’s still not enough, said Melody Paton, army community relations association.

“Unfortunately, there’s just more need out there,” Paton said.

Roughly 1,000 ornaments bearing needy children’s names remain on the tree, located between Hollister and Foot Locker. The Salvation Army received requests for Christmas assistance for 3,627 children this year — nearly double the requests made last year, Paton said.

With the economic struggles Americans have endured, more and more nonprofits, like the Salvation Army, are receiving requests for assistance.

But unlike other nonprofits, Paton said, the Salvation Army is fortunate because it is not witnessing a decrease in donations this Christmas. She said the Lubbock community has been more generous, perhaps because donors are aware of the current need. Still, the need is too great to balance.

The Salvation Army historically provides four gifts to each child not selected by participants by the Dec. 18 deadline. But there are so many children’s names still on the tree the army will only be able to provide those remaining with two gifts each.

The army often buys those gifts in advance to take advantage of the best deals. As a result, gifts from the participants are usually more thoughtful than those provided by the army because the organization is responsible for so many children, Paton said.

“We just don’t have the time or funding,” she explained.

The Salvation Army suggests participants spend about $25 to $30 on an angel tree child. Although the ornament with the child’s name is often accompanied by a list of gifts that could total much more, the list is just a suggestion, Paton said.

Many participants often spend more than $30, Paton suggested that this year with so many children waiting for gifts, it would be better to adopt more than one child and spend a smaller amount.

“You’re helping more children have something for Christmas,” she said.

In addition to the angel tree gifts, the Salvation Army also gives boxes of food to families and gift certificates to elderly people who apply for Christmas assistance.

Paton said the angel tree provides children with more than just a present under the tree.

“It’s giving people hope,” she said. “Hope is a powerful gift.”

Copyright 2014 LubbockOnline.com   (Copyright Terms)
Updated 1450 days ago   Article ID# 772948

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