Annual Angel Tree program in need of donations and volunteers

The Angel Tree is a holiday tradition thousands of central Virginians participate in every year.
NBC12 and the Salvation Army are teaming up once again for the annual Angel Tree Program.
Published: Oct. 10, 2022 at 4:19 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - NBC12 and Salvation Army are kicking off the annual Angel Tree program, which needs donations and volunteers to help those in need this holiday season.

The Angel Tree is a holiday tradition thousands of central Virginians participate in yearly.

For many families, adopting an Angel is a wonderful way to share the spirit of the season with others in our community who are less fortunate.

Each Angel represents a real child in our community who needs your help.

Salvation Army volunteers began meeting with families in need last week in Petersburg.

Thousands of families will meet with the Salvation Army this week to discuss their Angel Tree applications at the Christmas Center located at Stony Point Fashion Park.

Volunteers will get the name of each child or senior, along with a list of their desired Christmas gifts.

“Sometimes, it’s ‘My child doesn’t have a bed, and they would really like a twin bed.’ Sometimes, it’s ‘my child needs a specific backpack or a specific item for school,’ and so we’re able to put those things down as a request,” Captain Jason Burns said.

Burns says the rising costs of inflation are increasing the need for help.

He says they served just over 4,500 hundred families last year, but they’re expecting a bigger turnout this year.

“One of the amazing things about our community is that the community always rise[s] to the occasion. So, while it seems like there is always a challenge, our community always responds to that.”

It’s an all-hands-on-deck effort to ensure presents are under each Angel or silver bell’s Christmas tree, especially as the Salvation Army faces staffing shortages.

“We’re not sure why, but we know we’re lagging a little bit behind last year’s volunteer sign-ups,” said Burns.

Angels and silver bells are placed on trees at malls or businesses where generous community members can select an angel. Donors then purchase the gifts and return them to Salvation Army.

During the week before Christmas, families can then come and pick up their gifts.

“To see the overwhelming gratitude and the overwhelming sense of awe from parents as we put the bags in their cars, or bikes, it’s just really, really incredible,” said Burns.

Angels and Silver Bells will be up for adoption starting Nov. 1. Click/tap here for more information.