SA’s Angel Tree numbers down, but only slightly

With the application process for the annual Angel Tree program completed, officials with the local Salvation Army say the number of children and seniors represented by this year's effort is slightly lower than expected.Ada Lafler, Angel Tree coordinator for the local charity, said the application process went well, although it's still hard to get a solid count on how many area families have — and will — be approved.“We had 70 complete applications submitted and there's another 20 or so that I'm still waiting on information for,” Lafler said. “We also went to Canterbury South and Canterbury North on Monday and took applications for the senior angels and got approximately 20 applications, which is down a bit from last year's numbers. However, each year we usually have some emergency applications leading up to the Christmas holiday, so I imagine it will even out similar to last year's numbers before it's all over with.”The annual program provides Christmas gifts to area low income children and seniors who might not otherwise receive a present this Christmas holiday, according to Salvation Army officials.Lafler said her office is currently in the process of approving the applications.“We're hoping to be finished with the approval process by the end of this week,” she said. “However, a lot of that depends on how quickly those applicants we're waiting on for additional information get back to us.”Overall, Lafler said she expects to have approximately 110 names to place on the Angel Trees, which are slated to begin going up around the Crossroads area Nov. 12.“We expected around 110 when we started, so we're pretty pleased with how the process went,” Lafler said. “Once they've been approved, we'll begin getting them ready to go on the trees.”Lafler said Angel Trees will be located at Blums Jewelers in the Big Spring Mall, the Big Spring Herald, Higganbotham-Bartlett Hardware, Just Peachy Cafe, Bealls Department Store, Walmart, the Howard County Library and Alon USA's Big Spring Refinery.“We'll also have a tree up in the lobby of Scenic Mountain Medical Center,” Lafler said. “However, that tree won't go up until Nov. 27 because of activities the hospital has going on prior to that.”According to Lafler, participating in the program is simple.“They just take the Angel card from the tree and purchase Christmas gifts for that child or senior,” Lafler said. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be what’s listed on the angel card. Once they purchase the items, they will attach the card to the gifts and bring them to our office, or drop them off where they got the card from. It’s very important that they tape or tie the card to the gift, however, so we can make sure it goes to the correct child.”Lafler said providing for an angel from one of the trees can serve more than one purpose this holiday season.“You're not just brightening a child or senior's Christmas. It can go a lot further than that,” she said. “When we give to the less fortunate in our community, we're also sending a very, very important message to our children. We're teaching them how important it is to help others when we have the opportunity to do so. You never know, some day it could be you or someone you love who is in need.”For more information on the Angel Tree program, call 267-8239 or stop by the Salvation Army office, located at 811 W Fifth Street.