Sign-up begins Saturday at VF Mall for Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

Nov 2, 2007 - Although Christmas is still more than 50 days away, many families are already making holiday plans. For some, however, especially those with young children, the holidays can be a daunting time, particularly those who are already doing all they can to pay the bills and provide for their families.

Hopkins County Salvation Army will again this year be assisting those with children who need a bit of financial help providing gifts for their children through the Angel Tree program.

Applications may be completed during three sign-up sessions to be conducted over the next two weeks at VF Outlet Mall. Those wishing to apply for assistance may do so Saturday, Nov. 3, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.; Monday, Nov. 5, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.; and Thursday, Nov. 8, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

All applicants will be required to provide Social Security numbers, current identification cards, proof of household income, and a toy wish and the clothing sizes for each child benefitting from the Angel Tree program.

Those families filling out applications for Empty Stocking and other similar help program will not qualify to receive toys through the Salvation Army's Angel Tree. Selection is based on income, and families will be notified of their eligibility status before Thanksgiving. 

The Angel Tree program will then rely on the generosity of community members to select paper angel tags from the Angel Trees which go up at VF Outlet Mall and in front of 1st Convenience Bank (located inside Wal-Mart) the day after Thanksgiving.

Each angel tag contains the age, sex and clothing sizes of a child, and their toy wish. After selecting an angel, that person purchases gifts for their "adopted" angel and returns the unwrapped gifts to the store.

Angels and gifts will need to be returned to the store within a week of Dec. 19, the date the gifts will be distributed to parents. That ensures HCSA volunteers have plenty of time to sort, wrap and tag the gifts for the distribution at VF Outlet Mall.

Monetary donations may also be made to HCSA for the Angel Tree project. For more information, contact HCSA Chair Jo Marie Neal at the program headquarters located inside The Bait and Tackle Shop, 1702 South Broadway St., at 903-885-9858 or at 903-335-1032.

Hopkins County Salvation Army is also being assisted by the businesses to provide needy community residents with food for the holiday season.

New business Citifinancial, located at 1707 South Broadway St. in Suite 7 in the new shopping strip in front of Lowe’s, is hosting a canned food drive this month, with food items to be donated to the Salvation Army for distribution to needy local families. A designated donation box is located just inside the front doors. The drive will officially kick off Monday, but donations will be accepted over the weekend, and will continue through the month of November.

Lone Star Chrysler Dodge Jeep, located at 131 N. Industrial, will also  dearlership will also be hosting a non-perisahbel food drive for Hopkins County Salvation Army through Nov. 16, to provide items for Thanksgiving food baskets to be distributed to local families. Non-perishable food items may be dropped off at the business through Nov. 16. HCSA food applications are also available  at Lone Star Chrysler Dodge Jeep. Contact Carmen Crouse or Dichele Wiser at 903-885-2600 for more information.

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