OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The Salvation Army of Central Oklahoma is recruiting sponsors for the 2021 Salvation Army Corporate Angel Tree Program. The annual program matches local businesses, small groups, churches, and civic organizations with children from families and seniors in need and provides those sponsors with a tag that symbolizes the Christmas wishes and needs of each child or senior. Sponsors then purchase appropriate gifts for the child or senior described on the tag.

“We anticipate the need for Christmas assistance will increase this year and we need help to provide gifts to these local families,” stated Major Charles Powell, Area Commander of The Salvation Army of Central Oklahoma.  “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Oklahomans have faced loss of income, financial insecurity, and social and economic burdens. These same families who are struggling to meet the day-to-day finances question how they will provide gifts for their children at Christmas. Many of our seniors are also struggling to meet basic needs that are outpacing their fixed incomes. Through the Angel Tree program, donors can give joy to a child or senior in need during the holiday season.”

How the Program Works

Each participating sponsor adopts a set number of Angels (minimum of five for the corporate program), shops for their gifts and coordinates a pick-up of the donated items for each child or senior. The Salvation Army will provide sponsors with all the information for each Angel to help sponsors shop for gifts, including gender, name, age, gift suggestions and needs for each child or senior. All information about how the program works, supplies, and instructions will be provided. Gifts will be picked up at a designated location on a selected date and time. To register as an Angel Tree sponsor, please email Traci Jinkens at traci.jinkens@uss.salvationarmy.org or call 405-246-1109.

The History of The Salvation Army Angel Tree

Along with the familiar Red Kettles, the Angel Tree program is one of The Salvation Army’s highest profile Christmas efforts. Angel Tree was created by The Salvation Army in 1979 by Majors Charles and Shirley White when they worked with a Lynchburg, Virginia shopping mall to provide clothing and toys for children at Christmas time. The program got its name because the Whites identified the wishes of local children by writing their gift needs on Hallmark greeting cards featuring pictures of angels and placing them on a Christmas Tree at the mall. Thanks to the Whites, who were assigned by The Army to the Lynchburg area at the time, more than 700 children had a brighter Christmas that first year. Three years later, when the Whites were transferred to Nashville, Tennessee, Angel Tree was launched in Music City during the 1982 Christmas season. WSM radio, which airs the Grand Ole Opry, came on board that year as the first Angel Tree co-sponsor in the U.S. Because of the on-air promotion on WSM in Nashville, as well as national publicity on CNN and the Larry King Show, the program has grown to include Angel Trees throughout the country.

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