News and Tribune

Clark County

December 15, 2013

In need of an ‘Angel’ in Southern Indiana

Food, toys handed out during Salvation Army's annual Angel Tree event

NEW ALBANY — More than 4,100 children received toys over the weekend, as The Salvation Army’s Southern Indiana Angel Tree campaign again brought joy to families in need.

On Friday, elderly and Hispanic residents who were adopted into the Angel Tree program were treated to food, clothing and gifts for the holiday season. Then beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturday, families poured into The Salvation Army post in New Albany to receive similar donations.

“Every child is getting, I’m going to say, at least three or four toys today,” said Roxanne Haley, business administrator at The Salvation Army in New Albany.

There were a total of 4,237 Angels adopted in the program this year. Haley said The Salvation Army carefully screens the families that receive assistance to ensure they truly are in need of help.

Families have to show proof of local residency and income, for example, before they are eligible for the  Angel Tree program.

Registration begins in early November each year and The Salvation Army spends the following weeks busily gathering donations.

Maj. Stephen Kiger of The Salvation Army said the fact that Thanksgiving came later in the year than normal affected the amount of donations received for the program this year.

He estimated donations were down between 10 and 15 percent, or about a week behind what they typically are when Thanksgiving comes earlier in November.

“Usually you don’t start thinking about Christmas until after Thanksgiving,” Kiger said.

But he emphasized the organization is thankful for all the donations it receives to aid families in need in the community.

And those needs last throughout the year, not just during the holiday season.

The Salvation Army’s red kettle campaign is also down locally so far in 2013, and that money supports services for families. Haley said inclement weather probably is the main reason why donations aren’t as great, as the number of bell ringers at area grocery and retail stores remains the same as in years past.

Those donations fund efforts such as hunger relief, utility bill assistance and elderly services. The need in the community for such programs and aid has only risen in recent years, Haley said.

“I’ve been here for a long time, and the past three years have been really, really tough,” she said.

On Saturday, families received clothing, toys and a gift card and a bag of groceries from Kroger.

Several area organizations and businesses chipped in for the cause, and dozens of volunteers donated their time on Friday and Saturday to help with the event.

“There’s no way we could have done it without the volunteers,” Haley said.

One of those volunteers was Kenneth Applegate. He’s actually volunteered the past four or five years during the Angel Tree giveaway, as Applegate said fortunes can turn quickly for any person.

“It’s always nice to give back because you never know when you’ll be in that place,” Applegate said. “Plus it’s fun to help out.”

Donations needed

• You can give to The Salvation Army by dropping money into a red kettle this holiday season, or you can mail donations to the organization’s New Albany office at 2300 Green Valley Road.


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