By Wyatt Goolsby
MIDLAND - Midlanders will soon start seeing more Angel Trees around town. It's the Salvation Army's way of letting you give to children in need this Christmas. However, this year the number of kids are way up. How much? Try 400.
Members of Midland's Salvation Army said there's no doubt the economy is directly affecting how many gifts they are listing on the Angel Trees. The numbers are way up, and that means they're asking for you to be generous in the next few weeks.
"We have an estimate of about 1700 children this year," Captain Linda Keeney, with the Salvation Army, explained. "Which is up about 400 from last year. So, it's quite a bit of an increase in relation to last year."
The numbers can seem pretty daunting. Hundreds more children means the Salvation Army is asking Midlanders not to forget about these children in your holiday shopping.
"A lot of oil workers lost their jobs this last year," Keeney said. "And we've seen a lot of people who were in the oil field not be able to go back to the oil field because they're just not hiring."
Keeney said the Tall City Salvation Army is now helping hundreds of new families. How can you help? Angel Trees are set up at the Midland Mall, Family Fitness on Midland Drive, and Mardel's Christian and Education Supply on West Wadley. In addition, this Friday, Midland's Gold Gyms will also add Angel Trees. If shopping for a stranger isn't your thing, Keeney said you can still help.
"Even if they don't want to shop for the children. If they would just rather make a monetary gift, and want us to go do the shopping, we can do that too," Keeney said. "We have a number of ways that we can get angels to people. We can fax them, we can scan them and send them via email, we can deliver them."
Keeney said by time Christmas rolls around, they just want to make sure every child has something under the tree.
"It would be hard to imagine for a seven-year-old or an eight-year-old who is anticipating Santa Claus to come on Christmas morning to look and there's nothing under the tree. I mean, that's pretty discouraging for a child," Keeney said.
Keeney said they're also working to collect the gifts quickly. They're asking you for all of those new, unwrapped gifts to be turned in by December 11th.