For the past 140 years the Salvation Army has facilitated the Angel Tree Program in order to help families in need provide gifts for their children during the winter holidays.
Richland participates in this program. Richland has provided gifts for more than 100 angels this year.
“It kicks off in November to give people time to adopt the angel, shop for the angel and time for the parents to wrap [the presents,” Louise Rogers Keim, administrative assistant II, said. The Salvation Army strategically delivers the angel (a card shaped like the spiritual being that contains the child’s name and Christmas present wishes) at the beginning of November to provide not only time to shop, but also the ability to take advantage of the holiday sales on the recent Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Once the gifts are purchased, donors return the gifts to the Salvation Army base where they got the angel. At Richland, it’s the Office of Student Life. The parents are permitted to wrap the gifts and give them to their children.
“[This] makes them [the parents] feel like they’re still doing something for their loved ones,” Keim said.
Some may frown upon the Angel Tree program and wonder why the donors don’t just deliver the gifts to the recipients themselves, but the point of the program is for families to gather and share gifts with one another.
“They [the parents] cared enough to get their children’s name on the list so they can have something for Christmas,” Keim said.
While the program does have an extremely high success rate, there is one major issue, some angels are not taken off the tree.
Keim said these “forgotten angels” are not left out. “The Salvation Army keeps a list of names and reserve gifts. People tend to spend too much on everybody else. This holiday season you are encouraged to adopt an angel and bless those in need with Christmas gifts,” she said