OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Salvation Army of Central Oklahoma is hoping to get all of the tags taken off their Angel Tree.
It’s a program that’s been around for 41 years now, but this year due to the pandemic, local families are needing help more than ever before.
Volunteers were hard at work Tuesday, marking the first day they are packaging gifts to get ready for pick-up.
“It allows us to assist households who are having economic challenges very particularly for this 2020 year that’s been difficult for so many of us,” said Susan Ellis, Central Oklahoma Area Commander.
The sheer magnitude of boxes set up at their Christmas distribution center illustrates how many Central Oklahoma families are in need.
“They may be unemployed or had very many months of unemployment, have had COVID or have lost family members to COVID,” said Ellis.
They started this year with around 1,650 children, and 325 seniors.
Ellis says by this time in 2018, all the tags were taken.
“These gifts and items that we’re able to bless them with because of the public support will help them know that they’re not forgotten,” she said.
Usually, some businesses adopt many angels but this year due to the pandemic, businesses are struggling too.
“Some just aren’t able to do it at all some are doing it but it’s at a much smaller scale because their employees are working remotely,” said Ellis.
Gift requests range anywhere from a scooter and dinosaur toys, to one senior who’s hoping for a wedding dress.
“We see tears in the parent’s eyes as they get their items,” she said.
If the wishes aren’t fulfilled, it’s up to the Salvation Army to find a solution.
“To try to fill in 400 almost angels, it’s going to be a big task for us,” said Ellis.
But Ellis says the Oklahoma Standard always comes through.
“We can always count on central Oklahomans to rise up and give hope,” she said.
This year the tree is at Quail Springs Mall, and not Penn Square.
Due to the pandemic, there weren’t enough volunteers to set up at both.
The deadline to get gifts in is December 9th.
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