Coordinators with the local Salvation Army Angel Tree program say an over-abundance of angel cards has forced them to extend the annual effort until noon Wednesday in hopes of providing for area low income children and seniors.
According to Bessie Flores, a social worker with the local charity, there are approximately 90 angel cards left on the program's last tree, representing a tremendous shortfall for the holiday effort.
“We've consolidated all of the Angel Trees throughout the community into one, single tree located in the grocery entrance of the local Walmart,” Flores said. “We moved approximately 70 angels from the other trees and the Walmart tree still had nearly two-dozen cards on it, so we're looking at a very substantial shortfall this season.
“Each of the angel cards left on the tree represents a local senior citizen or child who won't likely have a Christmas present without the Angel Tree program. We've extended the deadline until Wednesday at noon in hopes people in the community will pick them up and help make this a happy holiday for them.”
Flores said area residents looking to brighten the holiday season for others still have time to leave their mark.
“The process is pretty simple,” Flores said. “All they need to do is go to the Walmart Angel Tree and pick out an angel card. On the card is a list of the items the child or senior would like to have this holiday season. Simply take the card, purchase the items and gather them together, then drop them off at the Salvation Army office. It will make all the difference in the world for local families who won't otherwise have presents.”
In addition to the cards which haven't been chosen, Flores said there is also a large number of cards which have been taken from the tree, but the presents have not yet been delivered.
“We really need the folks who have chosen angel cards to get them — along with the gift items — back in as quickly as possible. That way something important doesn't come up in the meantime and they aren't able to get them back to us,” she said.
While the annual program provides local families a chance to be charitable during the holiday season — as well as teach their children, by example, the importance of helping out the less fortunate — Angel Tree Coordinator Ada Lafler said it's very important to remember what a tremendous impact it can have on the recipients.
“Many of these children feel like society — and even life — have given up on them. That's a tough position to handle when you're only 10 or 11 years old,” Lafler said. “This program, however, offers them a reminder that people still care.
“It shows them that even though most people are caught up in the everyday hustle and bustle of the world, especially during the holiday season, they are still taking time and money from of their own lives and giving them a reason to wake up Christmas morning with a smile. No child should ever have to wake up Christmas morning without a gift under the tree.”
The deadline for donors to return their angel cards and gifts is now Wednesday at noon. For more information on the program, call 432-267-8239 or stop by the Salvation Army office, located at 811 W Fifth St.