1,000 families sign-up for first round of angel tree application - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

1,000 families sign-up for first round of angel tree applications

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

It's only October but already many families are worried they won't have the money to put gifts under the Christmas tree for their children this year. This past week the Salvation Army took its first round of Angel Tree applications.

Officials said, although they know the economy is in trouble, they were still caught off guard by the amount of need.

A Sunday morning worship service capped off a very busy week for the Salvation Army. When the non-profit began taking applications for its Christmas assistance program more than 1,000 families came in asking for help just in Harrison and Jackson Counties.

"I think we were a little surprised that it's higher," said Major Sharon Ray. "Sometimes we look for it to be about the same but it was a little bit more than we were anticipating especially in the Jackson County area."

The Angel Tree Program provides holiday gifts for children from birth to twelve-years-old. With the economy down and the requests up, the Salvation Army is hoping people who are able to give will have generous hearts.

"For the Salvation Army and agencies like us that help people we notice that when things are really rough in a community," said Major Ray. "The economy is down. That's when people really come out and help and that's when people begin to look and noticed how much they do have when they know their neighbor doesn't."

The Salvation Army has a history of supporting overwhelmed parents, who cannot afford gifts for their children due to various struggles. That explains why people come into apply for Christmas help.

Lt. Benjamin Deul said, "praying with somebody can bring in a whole other aspect of relief, of peace, of joy than just a gift."

The Salvation Army will take one more round of Angel Tree applications from November 7 to the 11. Families can go to the Gulfport and Pascagoula locations from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. In Biloxi applications will be taken only that Tuesday and Thursday of that week at 560 Division Street.

The Salvation Army's Red Kettle Drive kicks off November 18. Officials said the fundraiser helps keep all of the Salvation Army programs running including the family shelter and social services. Officials say they need volunteers to man the red kettles.

If you would like to volunteer please call 228-374-8301.

Copyright 2011 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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