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Salvation Army hopes for toys beneath the Angel Trees

Posted December 10, 2009

— A Salvation Army spokeswoman says the charity has barely half of the children's Christmas presents it needs, only six days before the annual gifts distribution.

Need has increased and donations are down in tough economic times, said Paige Bagwell, executive director of development for the Salvation Army of Wake County.

Salvation Army hopes for toys underneath the Angel Trees Salvation Army needs toys

This year, 5,500 children were signed up for the Angel Tree program – 1,000 more than in 2008.

"We are short. We need some more toys," Bagwell said.

The Angel Tree program lets members of the public give presents to children up to age 12 in households that qualify as low income. The children write their Christmas wishes on paper angels, which are hung on Christmas trees in malls. Shoppers can pick an angel from the tree.

"It makes me feel very good. It makes me feel great," said volunteer Sabih Khan, who was helping organize the gifts Thursday.

The biggest drop in donations has been from corporations that are reducing spending, Bagwell said.

"We've actually had corporations that were adopting hundreds of angels saying, 'We can't do any," she said.

Despite the challenges, no child will go without a Christmas present, Bagwell promised. Ideally, each child gets a stocking, an outfit and three or four presents. If they don't get enough donations, though, children might get only one present.

The Salvation Army's most pressing need is for toys, especially for children aged 10 to 12 years old. Jewelry, hair accessories and crafts are popular with girls, and skateboards, bikes and other sporting equipment are popular with boys.

Donations can be dropped off at the Salvation Army Distribution Center, 2407 Wake Forest Road in Raleigh, or at the Angel Trees in Triangle Town Center Mall and Crabtree Valley Mall.

Volunteers are also needed to help distribute the gifts next Wednesday and Thursday.

If necessary, the Salvation Army will use money collected at its iconic red kettle to buy presents, Bagwell said.

"That extra money we raise at Christmas helps our basic need programs throughout the year, the food, the shelter, the clothing," she said. "And if we have to dip into that now, before the (new) year even starts, it's going to be tough."


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  • swordmistress Dec 14, 2009

    Well, I don't have a lot to spare this year, but I did donate some clothes, coats, shoes, and yep, several stuffies (of varying sizes: average to extra-large/child-sized) to the local Salvation Army store. They aren't the brand-spanking new-in-box type toys, so I can't take them to the toy drops, but they are in fantastic/almost-new shape. Hopefully, they will really make someone's Christmas a good one. I fully plan on going through other closets and boxes to see what else can be donated, but I think I'm out of stuffies. :(

  • LLMO Dec 10, 2009

    May everyone just try to do what is right. If we thought positive about others has much as we put blame we would all be in a different place!

  • liskm Dec 10, 2009

    Well, i guess we will just have to wait and see how big business sifts out in regards to big bonuses and charity.
    I for one (in a not so stellar year for myself) at least took some items to a toys for tots box anyway.

  • JuanGrande v3.0 Dec 10, 2009

    Corporate donations are down everywhere. So many times "big business" is blamed or accused of some many things but people don't realize how much local and national businesses give to charities. This is a prime example.

    Next time you hear someone railing against Buisness, think of this.

  • jgb Dec 10, 2009

    My past experience has been that I have had to spend over $20 each on toys that I bought from the Angel tree (it wasn't Salvation Army - it was the one at our church). The kids didn't ask for anything exhorbinant, but since I had to buy two specific items, I couldn't get anything on clearance, since what they wanted was not on clearance. With my own kids I shop and buy stuff based on what is a good value (i.e. on sale or used). Of course, I don't blame the kids for what they chose, the fact was I had about one day to get gifts and wrap and deliver them, with both of us working full time and our own family schedules, sometimes I am forced to do these things at the last minute.

    This year I just donated $25 to the program itself, rather than picking an angel from the tree. That was easier for us and hope it will pay for at least one gift.

  • Mommy27617 Dec 10, 2009

    My heart is breaking as I read these comments. For those who are willing and able, please show compassion to these families and children and spare what you can. We are such a blessed society. I lost my job six months ago and my husband's employer is eight weeks behind in payroll. It's hand to mouth and times are tough but I think that I will do what I can to show these children that they are important and loved. We adults may be hardened, but hopefully we can at least try to shelter the children a bit. Please donate if your heart tells you to.

  • daddyankee Dec 10, 2009

    If anybody has cared to go check out the actual Angel program for their area you will see that the majority of these kids are skipping the "wanted" items portion(i.e. toys) and are only requesting "needed" items,(i.e. clothes) Some people need to do more research and less yapping.

  • cinder572 Dec 10, 2009

    But they ask for 4 wheelers, or X-boxes or other expensive items that I cannot even afford for my own children. Are they so used to being "given to" that their tastes are so high dollar?

  • concerncitizen Dec 10, 2009

    I have an idea. Let's call off the celebration this year! Depending on what group putting up numbers you want to go with, I just don't care. More than half the country, is out of work, or at war, and the other half is struggling to not end up in the same place! Food, clothing and a roof over there heads is what they need. Toys can't not be eaten! Whom ever it is you believe you are pleasing by continuing this ridiculous process, will understand if they get those three things only! If they die for lack of these three things, what good was the toy?? Get them a toy next year if we're still here? My goodness already!!

  • hywilson Dec 10, 2009

    jgbarzyk-I think that is a WONDERFUL idea. A few months ago my husband and I took 4 trash bags to Goodwill, adn threw 2 away of broken, abused toys, (Reason #534564515 why my kids arent getting very much this year.) I think they do the "new" toys so its a little more special to the kids, but im all for a used toy drive.

    But you can get nice toys at Target, Walmart Dollar Gen, Big Lots for under $10. Toys arent that expensive these days for basic simple toys, thats all little children want.

    You can get a coloring book adn pack of crayons for less than $3. Books for a $1 each. Give the kids learning tools. Not expensive at all.