Owensboro’s Salvation Army is asking the community to spread holiday cheer to the more than 200 families that need assistance by releasing the over 400 angels for this year’s Angel Tree Campaign.
Century Christian Church has a tradition of sponsoring eight families off the angel tree and prefers to assist single-parent families. This year, Captain Rebekah Abram, a Corps Officer at the Salvation Army, selected the families for the church based on the needs she thought the church community could best fill.
“One family has a father who was killed this year,” Abram said. “Another is married, but life has hit them hard. When I told the mother they had been selected, she cried.”
Although all families have to provide proof of government assistance to qualify for the Angel Tree, Abram said they are trying to make families aware the holiday is coming in advance and to take ownership as well. “December 25 is always Christmas,” she said, adding that she wants to encourage families to start saving earlier in the year.
The Owensboro Angel Tree program has an age limit of 12, but Abram said this is not a hard rule she has followed this year because another area program that used to cover all ages decided to only accept elementary-age children. This tugged at Abram’s heart, and she refused to see older children not have an “Angel Tree Christmas” simply because of their age. She plans to revisit the age limitation for next year.
The Salvation Army partners with Toys for Tots, which helps offset some of the donations for children. Because Abram has an interest in children’s literacy, she restructured the Angel Tree program.
“We went from three toys to a list of four areas — a want, a need, a wear and a read — for gifts,” Abram said. “Previously, children could receive three gifts, but then they would be in shorts at Christmas, or a kid would be sleeping on the floor with no blanket.”
This year, as the needs were filled out, Abram noticed something interesting — clients were asking for winter coats or bedding sets.
“I sat with a mother, I heard her story and I came to my husband [Captain Aaron Abram, also an officer at the Salvation Army] and said we need to do something,” Abram said.
The mother and her family are living in a shelter, but moving out, and they have no furniture, Abram said. She is reaching out to local businesses for donations for this particular family.
The Salvation Army asks that people spend fifty dollars per angel. Angels are available on trees at TJ Maxx and at Towne Square Mall on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 4 and 5 p.m. They are also available at The Salvation Army. A message can be sent to the Salvation Army – Owensboro Kentucky Facebook page and an angel will be sent electronically.
Toys can also be donated — with a special request for new books — at any of the above locations.
Angel gifts and toys are due to The Salvation Army office at 235 S Ewing Road by Dec. 14. For questions please call (270) 685-5576.