Generous spirits sought for Angel Tree program

Photo by Brett Dunlap The Salvation Army of Parkersburg is seeking sponsors for its annual Angel Tree program. The trees contain information about children in need of gifts for Christmas.

PARKERSBURG — Christmas trees are everywhere. Well, it’s Christmas… almost.

Some are brightly decorated. Some have a Charlie Brown touch to it. Some have paper angels as ornaments with names written on them.

Those are the Salvation Army Angel Trees. Those have the names of children throughout a six-county reach which will need some help at Christmas.

“There are approximately 600 names in the Angel Tree project,” said Major Cathy Riley of the Parkersburg Salvation Army. “The ages range from 0-12. The card states some things the child may want or need, but people who take the card are under no obligation to buy what is listed. The families understand the child may or may not get what the child asked for.”

There are six trees throughout the area where someone may choose a child to buy for but Riley said churches, companies, groups have taken a number of names.

“But people can stop by our office and get a name just as easy,” she said. “The gifts and toys are to be unwrapped when brought to the office at 570 Fifth St. (Parkersburg)”

Each angel has a code number, according to Riley.

“The gifts should have the angel tree card with it,” she said. “We match the numbers with the name. That’s how we make sure the child gets what the sponsor intended for them to receive.”

So what happens to the angels which aren’t adopted?

“That’s the purpose of the toy drive,” she said. “People will donate toys and gifts which are designated for anyone in particular; just for a child to have something for Christmas. Toys are starting to trickle in already but everything will get started in interest after the Dec. 8 deadline.”

Riley said she “has more than enough help with the toy separation and distribution with the regular volunteers but there are other places where they can be used.”

Distribution day begins at 9 a.m. Dec. 21.

“They will line up along Fifth Street , go through the chapel and do paperwork and then wait for their number to be called.”

Riley said numbers were given to accepted applicants for a return time Dec. 21 to pick up gifts.

“It’s really best if they come around the time they were given,” she said. “They can come earlier but they may just end up sitting around until that time. Their gifts are not going to be given away if they’re not here first thing in the morning. Their gifts are for them and no one else.”