Salvation Army scheduling Angel Tree appointments

The Salvation Army of Alabaster began scheduling appointments last week for families in need of help this upcoming holiday season.

Sgt. Andy Bailey said appointments will be made for Oct. 15-17, but people must schedule those appointments now.

“Like last year, we turned nobody away,” Bailey said. “We won’t this year either, but we’re trying to take certain zip codes so we don’t duplicate services.”

Bailey said other organizations such as Oak Mountain Missions, Shelby Emergency Assistance and the Shelby Baptist Association all have their own Christmas programs to help those in need.

Bailey said SA expects a surge in those seeking assistance this year.

“Just since the first of the year, we’ve seen an increase of 10-15 percent in the number of phone calls we receive just from new clients,” Bailey said. “Most of them need help with utilities or groceries.”

For these families struggling to provide basic needs, Bailey said Christmas could be particularly tough. The Salvation Army served 420 kids and 175 families through its Angel tree program last year. Those numbers more than double the number of kids served in 2008. SA already has 125 children on their list from DHR.

So, not only is the organization seeking out generous members of the community to fulfill angel wishes, but it also implores citizens to volunteer their time. Volunteers are needed to assist by sorting gifts, stocking the SA’s food pantry and as kettle bell ringers outside stores.

“There’s a big need for volunteers this time of year,” he said. “It’s what we do. We want to give everyone the opportunity to serve.”

SA needs at least 100 volunteers every year to make Christmas happen. The official Angel Tree kickoff is Nov. 20.

The Salvation Army will be making appointments for families in Alabaster, Pelham, Helena, Inverness, Maylene, Siluria and Saginaw who need to apply for Christmas assistance. The number to call is 663-7105.