Salvation Army Sees Increase In Needs For Holiday Angel Trees

Saturday, November 17th 2012, 7:25 pm
By: Tess Maune

It's hard to imagine, but the countdown to Christmas is on.

Groups around Green Country are starting their push for presents for children whose parents just can't afford the holiday.

Christmas cheer is in the air. But behind the music and the holiday lights -- there's a seriousness that differs from seasons past.

"People who were getting unemployment checks are no longer, they're expired, they're done -- there's no more left," said Salvation Army Associate Area Commander Major April Taylor. "So we don't have jobs that they can go into."

Taylor said there are 1,000 more children on this year's angel tree compared to last.

There are plenty toys on the lists, but the real needs seem more basic than ever.

"A good coat, good shoes, something to keep them warm for the winter," said Taylor. "It's a reality check for a lot of us who just spend money for whatever we might want. That's not their reality. Their reality is the necessities."

Folks across the area are already taking on the challenge to bring a brighter Christmas to children in the community. And that spirit's even alive in a younger generation.

Abigail Taylor, 14, picked not one, but two angels from the tree.

"It's my favorite time of year, and I really wanted to spread the joy for some children that maybe don't get as much joy thinking about Christmas as I do," Taylor said.

John 3:16 Mission is also spreading some of that joy.

The Mission provides a Christmas store that sells presents to needy families for pennies on the dollar.

There are fears there that some longtime donors won't be able to answer the call for help.

"While I'm hopeful, I know a lot of people are struggling this year that haven't struggled before," Rev. Steve Whitaker said.

But through the concern and uncertainty, there's still a need to be met, and Christmas wishes are on the line.

"And I think a lot of us need to be able to put that aside somehow, we all can share," Taylor said.

There are about 10,000 angels on Tulsa trees. More than 900 are senior citizens.