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Organizations calls out angels

Though Christmas is several months away, it’s never too early to start preparing for the holiday season.

And though many spend hundreds on gifts and decorations each year, some unfortunately, don’t have the money.

Beginning Thursday, Oct. 6 and Friday, Oct. 7 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Salvation Army will hold interviews at its Franklin Street office for parents and families who need food assistance and Christmas gifts during the holiday season.

Maj. Tonya Roberts said she encourages all parents who are in need, to come out and sign up for its Angel Tree.

“Parents come to us and say ‘I need assistance,’” Roberts said. “We need help from the community to provide assistance.”

And because of the tough economy, Roberts said, she believes needs will be even greater this year.

“We’ll probably see people that didn’t have needs before that do now,” Roberts said. “It’s very important so we … meet the needs of the community. We need everyone to come together and help their fellow man.”

In her third year as project leader, Roberts said in 2010, the agency helped 356 families, including 1,400 children, have a Christmas.

“In the beginning of November we have information on families available so (the) community can get presents,” Roberts said. “We try to have gifts ready for children before they get out for Christmas … we distribute (gifts) from the Old National Guard Armory in December. It’s an organized system — every family has a code and a number. We want to make sure every child in a family is accounted for.”

Roberts said interested parents must bring a picture identification, a Medicaid card or birth certificate for children, proof of legal guardianship, verification of income or no income, copies of all current bills and know the last four digits of their Social Security numbers.

“Applicants must qualify. It’s the same requirements as special assistance,” Roberts said. “You have to prove you have a need, show proof of income and expenses. You must have everything or we will not be able to fill out your application.”

Roberts said in the past years, the agency has received help for its Angel Tree from other states. But, Roberts said it’s also important for the local community to get involved.

“We need people from Selma to help people in Selma … think about what you can afford for your own children when buying for (the) Angel Tree,” Roberts said. “The key thing is supporting the community by adopting an angel — giving families a Christmas.”