Angel Tree Working To Make Christmas Merry For Needy Children
By Frances Kuo
(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) -- As you make your rounds through the malls this holiday season, remember that thousands of Kentuckiana children may not get gifts under the tree. For the 22nd year, the Salvation Army is trying to make sure no one is left out this Christmas. It's all part of the Angel Tree program and its success relies on your generosity. WAVE 3's Frances Kuo reports how you can make a difference.
As shoppers scurry for perfect presents, Joseph, Danny and Amber are among 17,001 angels this year who Santa may not quite get to this Christmas. They range from newborns to 14-year-olds.
"They come from families throughout the Kentuckiana area that are experiencing some sort of stress, economic, could be other types of emotional stress, recent loss of some sort in the families," said Jim Garrett, Director of the Salvation Army's Angel Tree program.
The small ones and the Santas are complete strangers.
"I grew up and always had a really nice Christmas. I just would like for other kids to have things to open up on Christmas Day," said Sara Hudson, one of dozens who visited Garrett's booth at Oxmoor Center Sunday.
Area malls serve as the program's backdrop, in hopes that shoppers can conveniently pick up something extra for the Angels.
"Today we got, I believe his name is Kyron and he's 12," said Amanda Hawkins, who adopted an angel for the second year in a row.
The children don't ask for much, usually warm clothes and toys. The program's director recalls one Angel Tree family last year, and the Christmas they never expected.
"The mother just broke down in tears, just sat on the floor and wept, because she was just so happy. She never thought her children would have bicycles, and there it is, a brand new one with bells and whistles on it," said Garrett.
Some put their angels before anyone else, like Jan Tedesco.
"It's one of the first things I do on Black Friday, is to take care of the Angel Tree first," Tedesco said.
And according to Garrett, some break the bank.
"I think our record for an individual is 25 angels."
However, for all the Angel adopters, Christmas gifts aren't always under the tree.
"Something that would bring a smile to any child's face is the best Christmas present they'll ever get," said Tedesco.
If you want to adopt an angel, you have until Dec. 11 to do so. They can be adopted at any of the five Angel Tree locations -- Oxmoor Center, Mall St. Matthews, Jefferson Mall, Green Tree Mall and Wal-Mart in Corydon, Indiana.
So far this holiday season, there have been 1,530 angels adopted, but there are still over 15,000 remaining.
Angels will receive their gifts a week before Christmas.