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Many angels still needing their ‘wings’

Although this year’s Salvation Army Angel Tree project seems in much better shape than last year’s effort, organizers of the initiative, which provides clothing and toys to needy children at Christmas time, are scrambling trying to recover “lost angels.”

“The good news is that (the Salvation Army) only has 87 angels left to be adopted. The bad news is there are over 400 that were adopted that have not had gifts returned,” said Salvation Army advisory board member Jana Garner.

Garner said there were seven locations that people could adopt an angel. Each angel had the child’s first name, age, clothing sizes and two toy choices the child wanted most for Christmas. The person adopting an angel was then asked to shop for their “angel,” spending in the range of $25 to $75 to purchase clothing and toys with the unwrapped gifts returned to the Salvation Army.

“The Salvation Army goes through a screening process to insure that these children meet the economic need and that this is the only Christmas they will get,” Garner said.

Tonya Roberts, along with her husband Eric are administrators of the local Salvation Army. Tonya said that while each parent who was promised a gift will receive one for their child, if the local Salvation Army has to fund the purchase itself, it will have a drastic effect on the organization’s ability to meet future needs.

“We’ll have to use money that comes from the kettle campaign and we’re already $10,000 behind last year,” she said. “The kettle campaign funds are used throughout the year to help people pay their light bills and meet other needs. If we have to use those for (Angel Tree) we’ll have to redo our budget and recalculate how many people we can help for social services throughout the coming year.”

Roberts said the Salvation Army will have special hours through Wednesday night in order to receive gifts for the Angel Tree project. Those hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and those returning gifts need to ring the front doorbell at their 2104 Franklin Street location and someone will respond to receive the gifts.

“We appreciate all the folks in Selma who have helped us and we really want to make Christmas successful for all these children who need it,” Roberts said.