RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – The angels have been flying off the trees and the Salvation Army says empty branches are a good sign.
"This shows that the community has really gotten in there and adopted these angels; has seen the need in this community, and have gotten out there and said hey, I know a lot of people out there are suffering," said Captain Dawn Worthy, Salvation Army.
Salvation Army officials actually expect the number of children helped by Angel Tree will be down this year. But they say that's not because they or the people of Richmond have done less to help.
"This year we've kind of upped the accountability, when people apply it's not just where you come in and show identification, but you also show proof of income and proof of expenses," said Worthy.
That way, they say they can be sure they're helping families who are most in need. They can also refer some people to services other than Angel Tree that may be a better fit.
"Maybe there are needs with rent assistance, utility assistance that would help this family get back on their feet where they would be able to provide Christmas for their children next year," she said.
This approach may mean smaller numbers for Angel Tree this year. But Captain Worthy says those numbers don't tell the whole story.
"We just want those numbers to increase because we want to help. However, if we're really helping people throughout the year and at Christmas, then those numbers should continue to go down," Worthy said.
If you're still looking to adopt and angel, you might still be in luck. The Salvation Army is still processing some late applications, so keep checking those trees for new angels.