The Salvation Army needs your help answering angels' prayers. It already has thousands of toys to distribute to needy children participating in the Angel Tree program, but it's not enough. Meggan Gray explains why.
Arbor View Apartments in D'Iberville is one of the hundreds of businesses that participated in the Salvation Army's Angel tree program this year. Manager Jessica Guarnieri says they were happy to help.
"We wanted to help the community, and we felt there was a need, and I think we got an awesome response."
Tenants there adopted 75 children. Add those to the thousands of others adopted through south Mississippi, and you get a warehouse full of green bags of toys. The Salvation Army's Christmas Coordinator, Stephanie Rosetti, says each bag holds a Christmas miracle for a needy child.
"A child dreams for Christmas, and when a child gets those dreams fulfilled at Christmas, they know the sky is the limit."
This year, the Salvation Army is trying to answer more prayers than ever. Major Will Cundiff says it hasn't been easy.
"Last year there was about 2,800 families with 3,500 angels. This year we're over 5,000 families, and over 10,000 angels, so it's really been a stretch to get it all done."
In fact, organizers have decided to stretch their deadline because there are still plenty of angels to adopt.
"We're still somewhere between 1,200 and 1,300 children, angels that have to be taken care of." Major Cundiff says, "For the next few days we're going to hold the angel trees in place and try to get people to continue to buy."
The Salvation Army says it's never had so many un-adopted angels before. Why? It used to only serve four counties.
Rosetti says, "The need is much greater. We have six counties now, so it's much greater. But we only have less than 1,300 left and I know the Gulf Coast is going to step up to the plate and help us with that."
Major Cundiff isn't worried either.
"We'll find a way. We'll put out some more kettles and ring bells after the first of the year if we have to, but we'll get it done."
The deadline to adopt an angel has been extended through the weekend. Just look for the angel trees at area businesses. You can also help by volunteering to distribute toys. All you have to do is call your local Salvation Army office.
by Meggan Gray
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