Salvation Army down 1,000 angels days ahead of its Angel Tree giveaway

Each angel represents a child from a needy family in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Salvation Army desperately needs help to make sure children from needy families will have presents this Christmas. The charity is handing out presents through its Angel Tree program Wednesday, December 16th. Each angel represents a child in our community. People adopt one of these angels and provide them gifts for Christmas.

The charity says it is down 1,000 angels, with five days to go.

If you take a look inside the Salvation Army’s toy shop located within Regency, you can see the difference from what it looked like this time last year. It stands out to Major Keath Biggers with the Salvation Army of Northeast Florida.

“If you look throughout this big, expensive room, you see a lot of empty spaces where the gifts normally go,” Major Biggers said.

Biggers says the charity has seen a big increase in need this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. He said many more families are experiencing struggles and have reached out requesting assistance. With about 1,000 angels still needing to be adopted ahead of the Angel Tree giveaway, Major Biggers is concerned, but staying optimistic.

“Most people respond generously and do what is necessary to make sure the kids are taken care of,” Major Biggers said.

An angel tree bag of presents can contain toys, clothes, or even a bigger item like a child’s bicycle. When people are out shopping this weekend, they’re urged to adopt one of these angels and make their Christmas wishes come true. Major Biggers says the Salvation Army angels can be adopted at the Avenues Mall, participating Walmart stores, and Ashley HomeStore locations.

If you cannot make it out shopping this weekend, angel adoptions can be made digitally by emailing ronnie.gainey@uss.salvationarmy.org.

No matter what happens, Major Biggers looks forward to Wednesday and the joy it brings to the children and families of our community.

“It’s what Christmas is all about, it just gives me a wonderful experience and chill bumps to see that come together,” Major Biggers said. “To see the community rally to make sure every child is taken care of.”

Gifts can be dropped off at 328 North Ocean Street in downtown Jacksonville. From there, they will be delivered to the toy shop. The Angel Tree distribution is happening Wednesday. To learn more, you can go to https://salvationarmyflorida.org/jacksonville-ac/

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