Springfield Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program starts; over 3,000 kids are in need

Capt. Anita Albert-Watson looks over some of the tags for the Springfield Salvation Army's Angel Trees Friday. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
Capt. Anita Albert-Watson looks over some of the tags for the Springfield Salvation Army's Angel Trees Friday. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

The Springfield Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program starts today to assist over 3,000 Clark County children in need this Christmas.

“Almost 40 percent of the kids that we have this year are new to us - have never used us before," Ryan Ray, the development director of the Springfield Salvation Army said.

He added, “It just shows you the impact of COVID-19 - people being displaced, furloughed, laid off, jobs shutting down and all of that.”

As part of the Angel Tree program, Clark County families have signed up to be adopted this Christmas. Their kids’ names, genders, ages, sizes and toy wishes have been printed on angels and distributed to various locations.

Angel Tree tags can be picked up at the Springfield Salvation Army, located at 15 S. Plum St. starting today or at several different Springfield businesses starting sometime this week, Ray said. Businesses include Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken restaurants, Le Torte Dolci, O’Conners Irish Pub, Texas Roadhouse and the two Walmart stores.

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“We really want to encourage businesses, families when they see an Angel Tree tag to get involved," Ray said.

Someone can choose to buy gifts for one child - or as many as they would like. Ray said when someone purchases for an Angel Tree tag they should turn in those items to the Springfield Salvation Army by Dec. 4.

Last year, the Springfield Salvation Army served 2,022 children, Ray said. This year they are planning to assist over 1,000 more.

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“While we are terrified, we know that the community is fantastic and compassionate and always does a beautiful job in serving and supporting," Ray said.

Each child will receive two new toys, stocking stuffers, new clothes and stuffed animals when appropriate as part of the program, Ray said.

The unclaimed Angel Tree tags will be taken care of by using the toys received from the Highway Hikers Toy Run. Ray said the Highway Hikers also raised almost $13,000 in toy money to help fulfill the needs of children.

He added that Speedway, LLC has agreed to fulfill 550 Angel Tree tags.

With the increased number of children in need, Ray said, “We’re going to need a lot of volunteers to help at the toy shop (when they distribute the toys).”

“We can not do it without the community coming together and helping to ensure that each kid has a fantastic Christmas," Ray said.

For more information or to volunteer, call the Springfield Salvation Army at 937-322-3434.

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