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Salvation Army making sure every child gets a gift

There are angels among us, as plainly seen in the many local volunteer organizations.

But, with Christmas just ahead, there is a need for special angels, people willing to participate in the Tamaqua Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program.

In early October, the Salvation Army accepted registrations from people in need of a helping hand to get them through the holidays.

Those families include more than 400 children in the Tamaqua and Panther Valley Area School Districts.

While the families will be given holiday food baskets, and the Marine Corps League’s Toys For Tots program will provide them with a toy or two, the Angel Tree program provides these children with more personalized gifts.

“Although the Marine Toys for Tots is a valuable asset to our holiday gift-giving, the community’s support through the Angel Tree program makes Christmas morning extra special for children whose families are struggling to make ends meet,” said Major Sharon Whispell, commanding officer of the Salvation Army of Tamaqua.

The Salvation Army already has an Angel Tree located in its main lobby and several businesses have agreed to hang Angel Tree tags in hopes the public will ensure that every child has a personalized Christmas.

Each tag contains a child’s first name, age, sizes, clothing needs, favorite color and the toys they hope “Santa” will bring.

As for cost, most “angels” spend between $25 and $35 per child, but the amount spent is entirely up to each “angel” and participants are encouraged to concentrate on clothing items, with possibly one toy.

Gifts must be new, with tags (prices may be blacked out) and unwrapped. Place all items in a gift bag and attach the angel tree tag.

Simply return the gifts to the Salvation Army, 105 W. Broad St., Tamaqua, or the location where you picked up the tag. Gift cards are not recommended as they are too impersonal.

Tag locations are Hiles Brothers Plumbing and Heating, 160 E. North St., Summit Hill; Cal’s Auto, 87 Mahanoy Ave. in Hometown; and the Tamaqua Times News Office, 200 E. Broad St., Tamaqua.

Anyone who wishes to participate, but who doesn’t have time to shop, may make a cash or check contribution through the Sal.

For more information, contact coordinators Dina Depos or Melissa Latham at 570-668-0410, weekdays between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Deadline to return gifts is Monday, Dec. 11.

The Tamaqua Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program is currently underway in hopes of providing a personalized Christmas for more than 400 children in the Tamaqua and Panther Valley Area School Districts. Each tag contains information for a specific child, including ages, sizes and clothing needs. Pick up a tag any weekday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at 105 W. Broad St., Tamaqua, or call 570-668-0410. KATHY KUNKEL/TIMES NEWS