Coast "Angels" May Be Forgotten This Christmas

Right now they are South Mississippi's forgotten angels. One thousand needy children still have their names hanging from the Salvation Army's Angel Tree. Charity workers say requests for Christmas assistance this holiday season grew by the hundreds. While the need grew, the response didn't.

Two-year-old Laylani not only loves angels, she is one. Her name is on Salvation Army Angel Tree.

Her grandmother Mary McCaleb said "Her mother and her father both work, but it's still hard some times to make ends meet even with the two of them working full time."

Each year the Salvation Army tries fulfill the Christmas wishes of thousands of children just like Laylani, but this year the needs of West Harrison, Hancock, Stone, and Pearl River Counties are overwhelming.

Debbie Kingsbury pointed to a stack which were "ones that have not even gone out on the trees yet because the trees are still full of ones that haven't been adopted and as soon as they're adopted then of course we replace them.. but this is probably 600 or 700 angels that you're looking at right now that haven't gone out on the trees just because people aren't adopting."

Mary McCaleb believes people need to associate the need with a face because "sometimes they get a picture in their minds of what the child may look like or be or the circumstances. I think that's what it takes, if you're going to give a good angel gift is just kind of imagine that as your own child."

Laylani's grandmother hopes the toddler will be all smiles on Christmas morning.

Donations to the Angel Tree Program end on Friday. To find out how you can help call the Salvation Army at 868-1188.

by Danielle Thomas