Salvation Army preparing for Christmas Angel Tree program

Registration for the Salvation Army's Christmas Angel Tree program will be held at 1040 Commerce Boulevard in Pelham on Oct. 8, 9 and 18 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. o 3 p.m. (Contributed)

Registration for the Salvation Army’s Christmas Angel Tree program will be held at 1040 Commerce Boulevard in Pelham on Oct. 8, 9 and 18 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. o 3 p.m. (Contributed)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

Although Christmas may seem far in the future, the Salvation Army of Shelby County is gearing up for the annual Christmas Angel Tree program. The annual program assists in providing Christmas gifts for children of needy families in Shelby and Chilton counties.

“When families cannot afford gifts for their children, they can come to us,” Salvation Army of Shelby County Corps Officer Jamie Leonard said.

To register for the program, parents must present photo identification, proof of all income, proof of all expenses and birth certificates for each child. After all information is verified, the Salvation Army works with the parents to determine the wants and needs of each child, Leonard explained.

“We talk about each individual child,” Leonard said, noting information such as age, size, wants and needs of each child is recorded so that children can be paired with gift donors.

Donors range from individuals, to corporate groups, to even school groups, Leonard explained.

“The Thompson sixth grade is one of our greatest partners,” Leonard said.

Since 2012, the Christmas Angel Tree program has provided gifts for more than 1,000 children across Shelby and Chilton counties. This year, Leonard is expecting as many as 750 children to be enrolled in the program.

“This year, we’re expecting a few more because we’re expanding… into Chilton County,” Leonard said.

Registration for the Christmas Angel Tree program for residents of Alabaster, Pelham, Helena Inverness, Maylene, Saginaw and Siluria will held at 1040 Commerce Boulevard in Pelham on Oct. 8, 9 and 18 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Beginning Nov. 1, those wishing to provide gifts can be matched with a child through the Salvation Army’s online service, found at Birminghamsalvationarmy.org/Shelby-county-corp, or at the “centralized Angel Tree location” at Big Lots in Pelham, Leonard explained.