One of my children’s favorite Christmases occurred during the winter in which we were the poorest. My financial partner had unexpectedly pulled out of our business start-up right before launch. Having put everything I had into the venture, I was left completely depleted financially. As my family struggled to make ends meet, we held several garage sales, and our church community contributed toward our rent and utilities. Friends brought bags of groceries and surprised us upon occasion with envelopes filled with cash. Of course, we had nothing extra to spend for Christmas presents for our four young kids.
Enter Catholic Charities. Several days before Christmas, a station wagon filled with wrapped presents pulled into our driveway. Dozens of gifts – all appropriately aged for our children – were delivered to our doorstep. Christmas that year was abundant. It was humbling to be the recipient of such generosity. We never learned who recommended my family, and I am grateful that my kids were able to enjoy the serendipitous bounty provided by Catholic Charities.
As the holidays quickly approach in this particularly challenging year, many families will struggle just to pay rent and utilities and put food on the table. Providing Christmas gifts for the children isn’t really a priority when a family is struggling to avoid homelessness. Enter this year’s Angel Tree Program.
Walmart and Salvation Army have joined forces to #RescueChristmas for over 2.6M children in need through their Angel Tree Partnership. Recognizing that every child should feel the joy of Christmas, The Salvation Army Angel Tree program provides new clothing and toys to more than one million children and families in need each year.
Once a child is accepted as an Angel, donors can shop for their Christmas wish list. Donors can simply pick a tag off the Angel Tree located inside local Walmart stores or shop online using Walmart’s Registry for Good. Once the gifts are received, The Salvation Army will distribute them to families in need for Christmas morning.
Economic pressures from the COVID-19 pandemic will force millions of parents to choose between paying rent and utilities, or buying Christmas presents. In fact, it is expected that an additional 1.6 million people will seek Angel Tree’s help to make Christmas brighter this year. In a typical year, they put new clothes and toys under the tree for one million children who usually must go without Christmas gifts. Anonymous donors adopt these little “angels” in an expanding Christmas tradition that makes the season more rewarding for the gift giver and happier for the receiver.
Consider being an angel and sending an angel to a household in need this Christmas. Visit the Salvation Army website to learn more about the Angel Tree Program. Find Your Closest Angel Tree Registry. Shop online for listed Christmas gifts for the kids in your area.