Angel Tree call goes out

Published 8:52 am Friday, November 15, 2013

Thousands of Christmas trees are sure to be displayed throughout the Black Belt this holiday season, but one tree — above the rest — will help spread the true message of the season.

The Salvation Army’s annual Angel Tree will be on display from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday in front of the Selma-Dallas County Public Library.

The tree will be covered in ornaments bearing the names of children living in Selma whose parents cannot afford to purchase the presents this holiday season.

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Salvation Army Major Steve Welch said the numbers of children whose names will be on the ornaments has increased since last year.

“We’ve had more people sign up than we had last year,” Welch said. “As of Tuesday evening, we had 524 children’s names given to us. That’s an increase of around 15 percent.”

Welch said the majority of the families that applied to be on this year’s tree have not applied in the past.

“Most of this year’s applicants are new,” Welch said. “ I believe that 60 percent of the children that will benefit from this program have not participated in year’s past.”

Welch’s wife, Major Mary Welch, said the program is important, especially in communities like Selma.

“There is not enough money donated to the Salvation Army to buy all the gifts that these families need,” Mary said. “The dollars are stretched so thin around here, and that makes this program very needed.”

Each ornament bears the name of a child, ranging in age from infant to 12-years-old, and suggested gifts that could be purchased.