The Salvation Army Waxahachie Corps will be accepting Angel Tree applications from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. beginning Monday, Sept. 30 through Tuesday, Oct. 15.

Each year, individuals and families turn to the Salvation Army for help during the holidays, whether it's needing food for a Thanksgiving dinner or wanting to see their children's eyes light up when they see presents under the tree on Christmas morning. That is where the Salvation Army steps in.

“We are here and ready to help,” Volunteer Coordinator Ann Zembala said. “This time of year is difficult for a lot of families, and we want to help make the holidays special for everyone. The Angel Tree program is one way for us to do that.”

Zembala said a lack of adequate income prevents many families from providing Christmas gifts for their children, and other family members.

“We not only try to provide and meet the needs of children during this time of year,” she said. “Our goal is to also show our senior citizens that we care about them as well.

Seniors are encouraged to stop in and apply, and if they can’t then the organization will go to them.

Along with the familiar Red Kettles, the Angel Tree program is one of the Salvation Army’s highest profile Christmas efforts. In the metroplex, the program includes Angel Trees in 10 shopping malls and on-site at more than 300 area corporations, churches and organizations. The local communities have gotten fully behind the Angel Tree program, making it possible to help more than 50,000 North Texas children and seniors each year.

Angel Tree was created by the Salvation Army in 1979 by Majors Charles and Shirley White when they worked with a Lynchburg, Va. shopping mall to provide clothing and toys for children at Christmas time. The program got its name because the Whites identified the wishes of local children by writing their needs on Hallmark greeting cards that featured pictures of angels. They placed the cards on a Christmas tree at the mall to allow shoppers to select children to help. Because of their efforts more than 700 children had a brighter Christmas that first year.

Three years later, when the Whites were transferred to Nashville, Tenn., Angel Tree was launched in the Music City. WSM radio, which airs the Grand Ol’ Opry, came on board that year as the first Angel Tree co-sponsor in the U.S. Due to the on-air promotion on WSM in Nashville, as well as national publicity on CNN and the Larry King Show, news of Angel Tree spread across the country.

Those interested in applying for assistance through the Angel Tree program are encouraged to report to the Salvation Army located at 620 Farley St. in Waxahachie during the specified times and dates. Be sure to bring the following with you when applying:

Picture ID (drivers license, state ID or Matricula)

Birth certificates for all children

Social security cards for applicant and children

Proof of income (1 pay stub, disability or social security reward letter)

Proof of Medicaid

Proof of TANF or Food stamp letter

Proof of residency (utility bill, lease agreement or property tax bill)

Proof of expenses (utility bills, rent, medical bills, etc)

Zembala said volunteers are also needed during this time to help with the sign up process. For more information about the Angel Tree program or to volunteer, call 972-937-7727.

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