|Angel Tree donations running short|
|Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor|
Dec. 8, 2004 -- Hopkins County Salvation Army officials are concerned that a large number of "angels" are still on trees at VF Outlet Mall and Wal-Mart, waiting to be adopted a few days from the gift return deadline.
"We still had about 100 angels on the trees," HCSA Chairman Jo Marie Neal said Tuesday. "We have more on the trees this year, more needing help than usual."
The Angel Tree program helps find presents for families that are struggling during the holiday season. Angel Trees were put up at VF Outlet Mall and Wal-Mart the Friday after Thanksgiving. Each "angel" carries a tag with the age, gender and clothing size of a child. Shoppers purchase gifts to donate to the child, and the gifts are returned to the store as specified on the tag.
Neal said she is uncertain of how many Angel Tree recipients there are this year. She does know that HCSA volunteers fielded a significantly increased volume of requests this year, most of which were approved. Since 2000, the number of children benefiting from both the Angel Tree and Blue Santa programs -- designed to help provide toys donated in Blue Santa barrels for the Salvation Army for children in needy families not already assisted by other help programs -- has doubled, pushing those assisted to well over 400 each year.
With the Friday deadline to return packages and gifts purchased for the "angels" rapidly approaching, the need for more people to adopt the 100 children whose names and information remain on the trees becomes even more critical.
Families previously notified that they qualify for assistance will be able to pick up gifts at VF Outlet Mall from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 15.