When Christmas comes around, lots of kids are excited to receive presents. However, not all families can afford to provide toys for their kids. The Salvation Army started the “Angel Tree Program” to fill this gap. Angel trees are soliciting donations of toys every Christmas. Families can come into the Salvation Army and fill out applications to receive these toys.
“One of the coolest things is that the families actually get to come out and shop. They don’t spend any money, it’s all donated,” said Kyle Karsten, Salvation Army Director of Development and Community Relations.
All of the donations are put into a gymnasium at the salvation army. The qualifying families can then come and pick out the toys that they wish to receive for their kids.
“We don’t just say ‘here, you’re a four-year-old boy, you get this’ but instead they get to go through and pick out what they want,” Karsten said.
Meridian High School’s “Let’s Fill Santa’s Sleigh” campaign collects items each year from students and faculty during the Christmas season. This year the items were all donated to the Angel Tree Program.
“Last year we donated to Toys for Tots, however, the Macon County Regional High School Principals Association (all Macon County HS principals) donates $1000 to them each year. We also donate $1000 to the NE Community Fund. Because of this, I chose the Salvation Army this year. The SA has so many community-oriented programs and I felt it would be nice to help with their initiatives, too,” said Eric Hurelbrink, MHS principal.
The Santa Sleigh was successfully filled thanks to the help of teachers, parents, and students like Delaney Brooks, an MHS senior.
“I saw Mr. Hurelbrink’s email about the toy drive and I thought this was another convenient way to help out and participate in the community and give back,” said Brooks.