By Wyatt Goolsby
Workers with the Salvation Army in Odessa are getting all the toys ready for Christmas, but there's still a big problem.
"The number of toys, they just have not come in. The angels that are out in the community to be adopted are just not getting adopted. There are still children left, and at this point last year, they were all gone," said Sergeant Michele Ward with the Odessa Salvation Army.
Sgt. Ward admitted it's nerve-racking as she and others with the Salvation Army try to organize the toys for less fortunate families. And even though they are behind on donations, she said she tries to stay positive.
"I've got to keep my head up, because my volunteers are nervous as well, they're asking me, 'Ms. Ward, when are we going to get to work, when are we going to start sorting the toys?' and I have to keep telling them, I'm sure all the stuff's going to start coming in tomorrow. Well, I'm sure by Friday, it's all going to be coming in, and so far, I keep putting them off telling them I know it's going to come in," explained Sgt. Ward.
But she wonders if it will come in. If you think trying to collect just the toys is hard enough, try the bicycles.
"Last year, we gave around 300 bicycles away, and this year so far, there's only about 35 bikes her in our warehouse," said Sgt. Ward.
And if worse comes to worst, Sgt. Ward said the Salvation Army will have to pull money from other funds to make sure every child on their list does get a toy. Hopefully, though, she said folks in Odessa will start taking those Angel cards off the trees, and turn in those toys in time.
Other places in Odessa where Angel Trees are set up include the Jewelry Box on 42nd, the Music City Mall, Johnny Carino's, and at West Texas State Banks. You can also drop off toys at the Salvation Army. The deadline to turn in toys has been extended from Friday, to this Monday, December 17th.