JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - "This one here has three kids and then we have some that have two kids," said Lt. Jennifer Williams with the Jackson County Salvation Army, pointing at the 500 boxes that lie in the Angel Tree warehouse.
"Altogether we have about 1,300 kids represented here," Williams said.
The boxes are to be filled with toys for needy families as part of the Angel Tree gift drive campaign. Williams is disappointed most of those boxes are empty.
"I'm a little saddened," Williams said. "I'm a little worried. But you know, we know God will provide."
At Belk in Singing River Mall, Lorin McCormick is sad to see the angel tree that stands in the lobby is still covered with angels waiting to be adopted. Each angel represents a child or senior citizen whose only gifts this holiday season will come from the Salvation Army.
McCormick has adopted several angels herself, and many Belk employees are banning together to adopt others. Still, she believes fewer shoppers have adopted.
"Last year I believe we had the tree pretty well empty by this time," McCormick said. "It's just kind of disappointing to see them not stop and at least look and identify with a child's name or a senior."
The economy has many first time families relying on the program for holiday help. In addition to heightened demand, Angel Tree has lost a partner, Toys for Tots.
The two charities have traditionally banned together, but this year in Jackson County they're not collaborating.
"They just decided this year that they would, we would be able to get a broader range of people if we separated," Williams said. "We have to roll up our sleeves and start asking for more donations is what we have to do. We've lost their toy support."
Only a few days are left in the angel tree campaign. Despite the big task ahead, Williams and McCormick are both staying positive more angels will be adopted, and have a happy holiday season.
"I believe in this area there's always a way to make things happen," McCormick said. "And I just hope that we'll get more people to come in and take a look at our Angel Tree."
Williams said the Salvation Army will do everything they can to make sure the angels on their list will be covered.
"We know each child that comes into our office, we know they're going to have a good Christmas one way or another," Williams said.
Angel Trees are located at several businesses throughout the county, including the Belk in Singing River Mall and all area Walmart stores. Donations are also welcome at Jackson County's Salvation Army Headquarters at 3217 Nathan Hale Avenue in Pascagoula.