Gifting for children in need this holiday season

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – As you consider your own holiday plans and buy Christmas gifts for loved ones, many are asking you to also think about children and senior adults who may not be as fortunate.

Programs like the Salvation Army Angel Tree provide for them.

“It’s to help provide Christmas for children who might not be able to experience the joy of Christmas,” said Salvation Army Corps Officer, Captain Chris Bryant.  He knows what it’s like: “If it wasn’t for the Salvation Army Angel Tree growing up, we might not have had Christmas.”

A viral Facebook post from 2015 about holiday giving is making the rounds again this season. You may have seen it on your feed.

Jennifer Reynolds, a volunteer with the Tyler-Smith County Child Welfare Board in Texas, wrote a long message that has since been shared some 50-thousand times since it was posted in 2015.

In her post, she said foster children and those in need have wishes just like your children. She urges you to put yourself in their shoes, writing in part:

“Some of these kids go their whole life getting clothing only from Salvation Army. Nothing wrong with that…at least they have clothes, right? But they go to school with YOUR kids and they want what YOUR kids want. They wonder why Santa brought YOUR kids the video games and XBoxes but not to them. Sometimes getting second hand items your whole life makes you feel, well, second hand.”

She later pleads with readers to purchase some gifts for kids that may be less practical like clothing, and more fun like video games or coveted toys.

Bryant said any donations are appreciated, but the Salvation Army’s program does have recommendations for donors looking to adopt an angel on the Angel Tree.

“We strongly encourage educational gifts,” he said, noting the goal is to help children developmentally as they grow.

He added that unlike the viral post, Salvation Army Christmas wish lists come from the parent/guardians instead of directly from the children. It is up to the donor to decide what things on the list to provide, and any effort is appreciated he said.

“When we put the request out on our angels it is from the parents themselves for things their children would like. We do request that they are, first off, new in the package. We don’t take used,” he said of the gifts. “If you can get quality as best you can, that’s going to go a long way for the child. This may be the only time they are able to receive something brand new,” he noted.

Bryant shared that he knows how that feels.

“Growing up, I can remember sharing with my friends and being so happy that I finally had something that was new. Because most of the stuff I had growing up was secondhand. I was able to just celebrate and I wasn’t embarrassed to show my friends. It was a fantastic feeling,” he said.

Bryant is proud of the work this community is doing to take care of the kids and needy, whatever you’re capable of giving this year.

“We seem to be on pace to meet our goal, so we want to thank everyone and encourage them to keep adopting,” he stated.

If you’d like to learn more about donating to the Salvation Army Angel Tree and adopting an Angel, click here.

You can also visit the Angel Tree in Huntsville at Parkway Place Mall, call Captain Bryant at 256-536-5576, or email either christopher.bryant@uss.salvationarmy.org or kelly.a.bryant@uss.salvationarmy.org.