Angel Tree Program making holidays brighter

The Salvation Army Angel Tree Program allows people to buy specific gifts for individual children.

The Salvation Army Angel Tree Program allows people to buy specific gifts for individual children.

Alexandra Nicolas

With the help of Missouri Southern students, 25 angels will have more than just a halo this holiday season.

Since 1979, The Salvation Army has organized the Angel Tree Program every Christmas so members of the community can give back to local children for the holidays.

While most holiday charity programs collect random gifts or canned foods, the Angel Tree Program allows businesses, individuals and other charitable organizations to buy specific gifts for individual children.

Though the program has been in place for 27 years, this is Southern’s first year to host an Angel Tree.

“It was sort of a test run this year,” said Jennica White, resident director.

McCormick Hall housed the tree with 25 angels available for “adoption,” though, with this year’s success, more angels are planned for next holiday season.

Each angel lists the name, age, gender, interests and clothing sizes. The majority of angels were adopted by students, but faculty and staff also joined the project, adopting all 25 angels in less than two weeks.

The paper angel only requests you return one gift, but most participants have given both toys and clothing.

“They’ve been a lot more generous than I expected,” White said. “They are poor college students after all.”

Since finances are tight for many students during the holiday season, some formed groups of friends to adopt an angel.

Participants also showed their support by adopting more than one “angel in need.” Maggie Miller, sophomore health sciences major, took both a girl and a boy angel and returned them with clothing and toys.

“I remember when I was a little kid having a great Christmas,” she said, “I want to give someone else that chance.”

Though all the angels have been adopted, the process is only half done. Angel gifts are sometimes late or not returned at all.

Students, faculty and staff have expressed an interest in helping “forgotten angels” if their gifts are not returned in time.

“I didn’t know what the response would be,” White said. “They were really helpful.”

Though the tree has been taken down, and the angels adopted, those still wishing to participate in The Salvation Army Angel Tree project can purchase an angel ornament through the Target Web site. 100 percent of the proceeds will go to The Salvation Army to help children and seniors in need.

Those who would like to purchase an ornament may do so at www.target.com/salvationarmy.