Angel Tree In Desperate Need - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/5/03 - Tyler

Angel Tree In Desperate Need

The Salvation Army is in desperate need of help this year, as they struggle to fill the wishes of a record number of families. In Tyler, around 500 more families than last year have asked for help. That brings the total number of angels on the angel tree to around 6,000. More than 3,500 still remain, and time is running out. The boxes are endless. Nearly 2500 in all, filling two buildings at the Salvation Army. Each box represents a family that won't have a Christmas without the help of an East Texan. Right now, most remain empty.

"We've only had about a third of our angels chosen and we're about halfway through the season," said Linda Edwards of the Salvation Army. "There's only ten more days to do the shopping and get the angels back to us because we start distribution in 13 days from today."

The gifts have begun coming in, but slowly. Volunteers check off names as kids are adopted. For one family, a two year old boy will be getting presents. So far, four of his brothers and sisters will not.

Geraldine Milton is volunteering at the Angel Tree desk at Broadway Square Mall. She is faced with stack after stack of angels waiting for someone to adopt. Angels asking for things most of us take for granted.

"This one, uniform. He goes to Dogan Middle School," said Milton, "that's all he's asking for. No need, no wish. This one needs shoes. He didn't even put down clothing, he says shoes, watch, football."

While we were there, 11 angels wishes were granted, thanks to Barbara Thomas and the Sammons & Parker law office where she works.

"My baby, we go in the store everyday and buy stuff," said Thomas. "There are kids that they only get once a year, and that's if someone else buys for them, and I just didn't realize that."

The Angel Tree table is a little tricky to find this year at Broadway Square Mall. It's tucked into the northwest corner of the main hall of the mall, just off to one side of the J.C. Penny Department Store entrance.

Kevin Berns, reporting.

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