Angel Tree program offers Christmas for needy children

(Photo source: Salvation Army of the MS Gulf Coast)
(Photo source: Salvation Army of the MS Gulf Coast)

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Christmas is an exciting time for children, but for many parents; it can be rather stressful.

That's certainly the case for Tanjie Watson, the mother of four children between the ages of eight and 18. While she tries to teach her children the important things in life, the thought of her children not having anything under the tree on Christmas morning still brings a tear to her eye.

"For me, being out of work I'm like wow, I always talk to my kids and tell them it's better to give than receive; but at the same time kids say 'mom it's Christmas, it's Christmas,'" explained Watson.

This year, Watson and many other parents are turning to The Salvation Army for help.

"The other day, we had a lady sleeping in her car with three children. She was working and her kids were going to school," Salvation Army Major Gary Sturdivant said. "It's stories like these each and every day."

This year, there is a new requirement for the Angel Tree program in Hancock County. Parents who have received help in the past must sign up to take one of three classes to help them with future budgeting.

"Most families can probably afford to buy those gifts for their kids if they are taught to budget properly throughout the year," Sturdivant said.

Until then, The Salvation Army reaches out to the community to help these folks through donating gifts or even just time.

Volunteer Jean Williams said, "I'm a busy person just like everyone else, but you always have a few minutes you can squeeze in to help someone."

Those few extra minutes can mean the world to those in need.

"I am speaking not just for me but for other mothers and fathers, thank you very much and God bless you," said Watson.

The Angel Trees will be set up throughout South Mississippi November 16th for anyone who can help.

Schedule for registration in Harrison, Stone, Jackson and Pearl River counties

October 14-15, 17-18, 21-22, & 24, 25; 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

October 16 & 23; 8:00 AM - 7:00 PM

For more information, please call 228-374-8301. Applications will be accepted only on a walk-in basis.

Harrison, Stone, & Pearl River counties Registration Location: The Salvation Army Area command office - 2019 22nd Street, Gulfport 39501

Jackson County Registration Location: The Salvation Army of Jackson County office at 3217 Nathan Hale Road in Pascagoula.

Schedule for registration in George County

Last name beginning with the letters A-L: October 16 - 17

Last name beginning with the letters M-Z: October 23 - 24

9:00 - 11:30 am / 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

For more information, call 601-766-3577. Applications will be accepted only on a walk-in basis.

George County Registration Location: The Salvation Army Family Store and Social Service Office located at 52 Virginia Street, Suite A in Lucedale

Schedule for registration in Hancock County

By appointment only on the following dates:

October 14 - 17; 10 am - 4 pm

October 21 - 24; 10 am - 4 pm

To set an appointment, call 228-463-8887

**Registrants in Hancock County who received Christmas Assistance in the past must attend one of the three social work classes listed below. One of these must be completed before their angels can go out for adoption.

Credit Reports & Credit Score

Start time: 4:00 pm-5:30 pm

Location: Hancock Resource Center

Available class dates: Wednesday, July 24, 2013; Wednesday, August 21, 2013; Wednesday, September 25, 2013; Thursday, October 24, 2013; Tuesday, November 5,2013; Wednesday, November 20, 2013; *Tuesday, October 8, 2013 - Class begins at 9 am

Managing Income & Expense

Start time: 4:00 pm-6:00 pm

Location: Hancock Resource Center

Available class dates: Wednesday, July 17, 2013; Wednesday, August 14, 2013; Wednesday, September 18, 2013; Tuesday, October 15,2013; Wednesday, October 30, 2013; Wednesday, November 13, 2013; Wednesday, December 18, 2013; *Tuesday, October 02 - Class begins at 9 am

Get A Job - (Resume writing and interview skills)

Location: Hancock Resource Center

Available class dates: Thursday, August 22 4:00-6:00 pm; Tuesday, September 24 8:30-10:30 am; Thursday, October 10 8:30-10:30 am

Parent or legal guardian must apply for their own children and must bring the following documentation:

•Person applying must bring a valid state issued picture identification card.

•Guardianship/Custody Documentation required if you are not listed on the birth certificate

•State Issued Birth Certificates for all children in the home, 0-12 years old, no copies or hospital certificates.

•Certified Proof of ALL Income or NO Income Verification (Employment, DHS, Unemployment)

•Must present notarized statement of any income help from family members

•REQUIRED Verification of SSI/SSA/SSD, SNAP, TANF, Child Support, Alimony

•Proof of Residency, (Utility Bill, Rent/Lease Receipts)

•REQUIRED Proof of ALL Expenses (Household, Vehicles, Medical, Insurance, Furniture rental,etc.)

Those interested in registering for the Angel Tree program but have registered for Christmas assistance with another agency, will not be allowed to register at The Salvation Army.

For more information, you can visit

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.