SWEETWATER COUNTY — The Salvation Army Angel Tree program desperately needs Sweetwater County residents’ help if they are going to ensure all children in their program receive Christmas presents this year.
Kimberly May, Sweetwater Family Resource Center program coordinator and case manger and local Salvation Army Board chair said they’ve had children signed up for for Angel Tree Program and now they need residents to help out.
“I want to make sure all the kids in our community, our county, have a blessed Christmas and they don’t have to go without,” May said.
“One way you can help keep Hope Marching On is by providing Christmas gifts to children of local families in need through our Angel Tree Program! Visit your local Salvation Army Extension Unit at the Sweetwater Family Resource Center and adopt a family from the Angel Tree today,” a public service announcement from the Salvation Army stated.
“Millions of Americans are still experiencing the ongoing impacts of the pandemic as they struggle to recover and stay in their homes, so The Salvation Army remains on the front lines of need to ensure Hope Marches On this holiday season,” according to the PSA.
“The Salvation Army Angel Tree program provides new clothing and toys to more than one million children and families in need each year,” according to the website salvationarmyusa.org.
Prior to opening up this program to all children in need, the Salvation Army Angel Tree program was geared toward children who had a least one parent who was incarcerated, May said. The program changed when the Salvation Army realized there was a need to open it up to all families.
Knowing There’s A Need
Both the Green River volunteer and May knows first hand what it’s like to have a need for a program like this.
“When I was a kid I never would have had a Christmas without Angel Tree,” Salvation Army Angel Tree program Green River volunteer said.
For May, this is personal. When she had children her partner went to prison. Shortly after that, she found out she was pregnant. She didn’t know what she was going to do or how she was going to provided for her family let alone buy them Christmas presents.
May said someone had put her children’s name on the list and two days before Christmas the Salvation Army showed up with presents and a tree. All she could do was cry and say thank you. To this day both May and her children remember how the Salvation Army changed theirs lives that day.
“Someday I’m going to pay it forward,” May said she recalled thinking.
That’s exactly what she’s doing now.
“I just don’t want kids to go without,” May said. “They didn’t pick the situation they were in.”
“These families really need it,” the Green River volunteer said. “These families are in dire need. Most of the people on the tree are in a pretty serious situation.”
How Residents Can Help
Around 110 children are still have tags on the Angel Tree and time is running out. May would like Rock Springs residents interested in participating in this program to come and pick up a tag at the Family Resource Office this week and Green River residents interested in participating to contact the Green River volunteer. All of the gifts must be purchased, wrapped, have the tag attached to the present, and dropped off to the center or Green River volunteer by December 15.
“We’re scrambling to get everything done,” May said.
May said they want to make sure as many children as possible are adopted from the tree.
“Because you sign up it’s not a guarantee you’ll get adopted,” May said.
However, regardless of how many tags are left on the tree, they will receive a Christmas gift from donated items, but it may not be what the child asked for.
Once all of the gifts have been received, the families participating in the program will be contacted. In Rock Springs, they can pick up the gifts from December 21-23 at the Family Resource Office between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. for Green River, residents can contact the volunteer.
Residents who would like to help by adopting a child for Christmas, can contact the Green River volunteer for Green River families via text or a phone call at 307-253-0773 or for Rock Springs families, May at the Family Resource Center 307-362-6549. The Sweetwater Family Resource Center is located at 649 N. Front St, Unit A, Rock Springs.