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Salvation Army Angel Trees to help needy children

The local Salvation Army is powering through the pandemic this Christmas season to ensure that area children have a bright and happy holiday.

The traditional Angel Trees have been up for several weeks, where tags with names of children from Boyle, Lincoln Casey, Garrard and Mercer counties have their wish lists written down. Shoppers at the Mercer and Boyle Walmart locations, as well as at Cattleman’s Restaurant can “adopt” an “angel” and fulfill the child’s wishes for Christmas.

Burke’s Outlet in Danville is helping the Salvation Army by having a toy drive in their store.

Salvation Army Lieutenant Lindsey Galabeas said there were a total of 375 children from 165 families on the Angel Trees this year — up about 40 from last year. And as of last week, about 85 angels were still waiting to be adopted.

The Angel Tree at the Boyle Walmart is a bit hidden, Galabeas said. “You have to go to the money services area to find the tree.”

Not everyone can afford to get all of the gifts listed on the tags which include not just toys, but clothing, shoes, coats and mittens as well, Galabeas said. But they can still help make a child’s Christmas special by purchasing just one item on their list and leaving it at Harrodsburg Walmart customer service desk or Danville’s money services desk. Or they can even drop it off at the Salvation Army office at 519 S. Fourth St. in Danville, Galabeas said.

“It’s perfectly acceptable to drop off a pair of shoes or one toy, or a coat.” Even books are welcome, but every donation has to be new and unwrapped, she added.

Galabeas said they know not every angel will be adopted. Usually it’s the 4- to 10-year olds who are adopted first.
But the older children won’t be disappointed because the Salvation Army will use monetary donations to shop for the children whose names were left on the trees, she added.
Also, because of COVID-19 and the reluctance of some shoppers to enter the stores, or even if they’re super busy, Walmart has given the Salvation Army a site on its list of registry services, Galabeas said. “Walmart is allowing nonprofits to have a registry site. … It’s like shopping for baby and wedding showers.”
Gift cards can also be purchased for the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program through the registry. “We’re very excited to have that,” she added.
“It’s really helpful for busy people. They can take a break at their desk and it’s easy to hop on and purchase gifts on the registry.”
The deadline to have Angel Tree gifts at the two Walmarts or at the Salvation Army office is Monday, Dec. 7.
Volunteers will set up the gift distribution process in the gym and families will pick up their children’s gifts on Dec. 18.
Because of COVID restrictions, this year’s pickup will be different, Galabeas said.
Families will go to the office and check-in, without leaving their vehicles, and a volunteer will bring the gifts to them, Galabeas explained.
At the same time, all 165 families will receive a turkey donated by Ephraim McDowell Health, and a $25 Kroger gift card. This year, American Greetings has also donated wrapping paper to the families. That way the families can participate in the fun by wrapping their own gifts and putting them under the tree for their children, Galabeas said.
Also, an anonymous donor gave 165 Bibles to the Angel Tree program, and the Crafters Who Care group knitted and donated a large number of warm scarves and hats, she said.
Galabeas said she bets a popular gift item this year will be face masks. “I bet a lot of people will be donating them. It’s such a good idea.”

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