OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — It’s that time of year when paying it forward to those less fortunate is emphasized. 

Today, the Salvation Army celebrates the beginning of the Christmas season by opening two major community campaigns – Angel Tree and Red Kettle Bell. 

The first angel being “adopted” kicked off at the Quail Springs Mall around 10 a.m. Monday. 

“Think about what it would be like on Christmas if you were the parent and you could not provide your child anything for Christmas or what it would be like for the child?” said Peggy Tampkins with the Salvation Army. “Then they go back to school, and the teachers always ask, ‘What did you get for Christmas?'” 

Tampkins told KFOR that’s one of the reasons why the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program was launched in the late 1990s.

“We want them to get up on Christmas and have a smile on their face and say this,” said Major Charles Powell with the Salvation Army. “They will remember this for the rest of my life because something was waiting for me under the tree.” 

The Salvation Army provides thousands of Christmas gifts to children and seniors in Central Oklahoma every year through the Angel Tree program with the support of the public.

The Salvation Army Red Kettle and its iconic bell ringers play a fundamental role in raising funds for The Salvation Army of Central Oklahoma, which supports local programs, said Powell.

“Overall, the mission of the Salvation Army is to meet the needs of all people without discrimination as much as possible,” said Tampkins. “But for [a] child to have their needs met in this way, in a loving way from the community, is a protective factor, and it can positively impact their lifelong development.” 

You can find an Angel Tree near you on the Central Oklahoma Angel Tree website.

You can also adopt an angel, donate, and volunteer for bell ringing online.