BUCKHANNON — The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program has been ongoing for many, many years, according to Service Unit Director in Buckhannon, Sharla Smith. Although the pandemic has changed aspects of the program, Christmas must go on and they need your help. The program is designed to bring Christmas to qualifying children ages 12 and under. Qualifying criteria include financial and residency situations.
“We here at the Buckhannon Salvation Army rely on our community, local businesses and groups to assist us in making sure the Angels get adopted and Christmas wishes get fulfilled,” Smith stated. This program is designed not only to provide Christmas for children, but to also create assistance and relief to the family of the child/ren.”
Smith reported that 167 local Angels have signed up for the program this year, as well as several families that the Salvation Army is working closely with under emergency situations, due to family raising family. Out of those 167, more than 80 Angels still need adopted at the Buckhannon Salvation Army. Formerly, it was possible to adopt Angels from a variety of locations, but “with the current situation of the pandemic and the decrease of foot traffic in the locations of Angel Trees in the past, it just seems easier to keep the adopting in-house,” explained Smith. In previous years, bikes could be requested; however, she said that has changed this year due to a shortage of bikes.
Smith has found that many families are joining together and adopting other families. She’s also noticed parents adopting Angels the same age as their own children in order to teach life lessons, particularly learning an appreciation for what they have.
Angels are due back by December 11 to prepare for distribution the following week. “Participating in the program to fulfill Christmas is actually rewarding and a great way to give back to our community,” Smith explained.
The Salvation Army is also distinguished by their Red Kettles found at local grocery stores and shopping outlets. This year, Red Kettles will also be limited due to the pandemic. The limited locations and times will have a major impact on their funds raised that will assist the community next year, explained Smith. She emphasized that the funds raised year to year are kept locally to assist Upshur County residents in need. This also determines their budget for different areas of assistance such as food, clothing, utility assistance, homelessness, back to school, and of course, Christmas.
Donations can be made online to the Red Kettle Campaign, where you can specify assistance to Upshur County, or by mailing donations to the local Post Office Box 33, Buckhannon. Smith stated, “All donations are greatly appreciated and assist us in doing good for our community.”
Throughout the years, it has been increasingly more difficult for the Salvation Army to collect money in their Red Kettles due to the world becoming a cashless society. Therefore, consumers can now donate by simply pulling out their smart phones. Last Holiday season, the Salvation Army put a modern spin on their Red Kettle fundraising program with their “Kettle Pay” campaign. This allows consumers to donate digitally with Apple Pay or Google Pay at any Red Kettle across the country. Donors can scan a QR code for Apple Pay or hover over a Google Pay symbol to donate digitally.
Donations can also be made by texting KETTLES to 91999 or by saying “Alexa, donate to The Salvation Army,” and specifying the amount to your Amazon Alexa. Lastly, donations can also be made at RescueChristmas.org.
Help rescue Christmas for Upshur County children and families by donating to a Red Kettle and adopting a child or family from the Angel Tree program.