Christmas is an especially difficult holiday for children who don’t have a gift to open. Many of us can’t imagine what that would be like. The Angel Tree program ensures that qualified children have a gift to open on Christmas morning. Want to make a difference and help ensure that local children in need will have a gift to open on December 25th? You can — at your local WalMart (in-store and online) thanks to their partnership with Salvation Army in 2020.
What is an Angel Tree?
Angel Tree was created by The Salvation Army in 1979 by Lt. Colonels Charles and Shirley White when they worked with a Lynchburg, Virginia shopping mall to provide clothing and toys for children at Christmas time.
The program got its name because the Whites identified local children’s wishes by writing their gift needs on Hallmark greeting cards that featured angels’ pictures. They placed the cards on a Christmas tree at the mall to allow shoppers to select children to help. Thanks to Lt. Cols. White, who was assigned by The Salvation Army to the Lynchburg area, more than 700 children had a brighter Christmas that first year. From that first year and each year following, Angel Tree has been a blessing to many.
Who qualifies for gifts
The process of signing up children to receive gifts through the program is coordinated through local Salvation Army offices. Participation is limited to those who meet age, income, and residency requirements. The individual must also not sign up for aid from other holiday programs.
According to the Piedmont headquarters (Culpeper, Fauquier and Orange Counties), the program provides new clothing and toys to over five hundred children each year.
Applications are usually accepted starting in early October. Participation is limited to children under 12. Contact the Salvation Army office in your community for specifics in your area.
How to contribute to Angel Tree
People who are interested in contributing to the charity program ‘adopt’ one or more of the angel ornaments. Angels can be adopted by individuals as well as groups. Donors remove their angel from the tree and purchase gift items appropriate for the child represented by the ornament.
Traditionally, gifts were purchased, wrapped and tagged, then returned to the tree location for distribution. However, in this digital age and due to pandemic restrictions, it is easier than ever to donate. Purchase an item from your local Angel Tree registry at Walmart.com and the item will be shipped to your local Salvation Army location. Gifts will be wrapped and delivered in time for Christmas.
Other ways to give
Holiday giving through The Salvation Army is not limited to the Angel Tree program. Find other ways to brighten the holidays through The Salvation Army here.
Find help this holiday season
The Salvation Army is serving people who have been impacted by COVID-19 all around the country. If you or a loved one needs help, please contact your local Salvation Army to see what services (homeless shelters, rental assistance, Angel Tree program, Bill-pay assistance, and more) are available in your area. Find your local help here.
We feature local charity groups often. Follow this link to see what other charities we’ve covered.