"Our Tamaqua Salvation Army really appreciates the anonymous donations received from so many caring individuals," said Major Sharon Whispell as she described the unseen generosity surrounding their Angel Tree Program.

"Despite the kindness of so many, as of today, only about 300 of the 375 children registered with our Angel Tree program have been fulfilled and returned to us," said Major Margaret Johnson.

The Angel Tree program is designed to make the Christmas season brighter for children in need by providing pre-selected and affordable items to deserving children.

The trees are hung with card tags containing the name, age, gender, clothing size and special Christmas needs/wishes of an individual child. "Angels" – the donors – can select a tag and purchase new items based on the tag information. The unwrapped items, along with the tag, are then dropped off at the Tamaqua Salvation Army, 105 West Broad Street.

"Even though we are living in a struggle economy, people are still giving," said volunteer and programs director Dina Depos, Tamaqua Salvation Army. "The need grows every year, this year being one of our biggest." In addition to all the anonymous helpers, Major Whispell stated her appreciation to the Tamaqua and Lehighton Wal-Mart for holding their first annual Fill A Truck New Toy and Coat event to benefit the Salvation Army.

In addition to the Tamaqua Salvation Army, Angel Trees can be found at numerous businesses, such as the Lehighton Wal-Mart, Tamaqua Borough Hall, Tamaqua Chamber of Commerce, Times News offices, Alliance Medical Group in Hometown, Cal's Auto in Hometown and Helping Hand in Summit Hill.

Depos urges anyone with any Angel Tree cards to please return them with the items to the Tamaqua Salvation Army no later than Wednesday Dec. 17. In addition to the Angel Trees, monetary, food, clothing, wrapping paper, coats and toy donations (ages 0 to 14) should also be delivered by that day since the Salvation Army will begin distributing on Dec. 19.

Donors are asked not to wrap the gifts.

"We greatly appreciate all the support and donations we've already received from so many caring individuals, organizations and businesses." said Major Johnson.

The Tamaqua Salvation Army is also working together with the Schuylkill Carbon Marine Corps League's Toys For Tots campaign, which is also expecting to distribute to many more families this year.

With tighter budgets in mind, the number of needy families is much higher this year.

For more information, call the Salvation Army at (570) 668-0410.