The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

October 28, 2011

Salvation Army to help families in need this Christmas season

ENID — Salvation Army of Enid is seeking help from the public to make Christmas morning a little brighter for area families in need.

The Salvation Army sponsors two programs to help local families at Christmas each year: a Christmas tree sponsorship, which provides trees and presents to sponsored families; and a Christmas Angel project, which provides gifts for individual children in need.

Capt. John Dancer, of Salvation Army of Enid, said many families are counting on the programs this year. He said 222 families already have been enrolled and he expects at least 60 more families to be added by Christmas.

“This is a wonderful program, and it fills a big need in our community,” Dancer said. “This really gives us a chance to serve the children, and that’s the most important thing here, helping kids.”

Salvation Army staff currently are seeking sponsors for the Christmas tree program.

The program matches sponsors with a family in need. The sponsors pay for the price of a tree and decorate it, and it later is delivered to the family in time for Christmas.

Charlotte Gragret, facility director for Salvation Army of Enid, said the local Salvation Army has ordered 50 Christmas trees for this year, and to date has received commitments from 13 sponsors.

The sponsorship cost is $60 per tree.

Gragret said sponsors also may choose to sponsor the cost of providing gifts for the family, which are delivered along with the tree.

“It just depends on the sponsor, but most of our sponsors do choose to sponsor a family,” she said.

Ages, sizes and information on requested gifts for each child in the family will be provided so sponsors can purchase appropriate gifts.

“Some of our sponsors also choose to ask about the parents so they can buy an appropriate gift for mom and dad,” Gragret said.

The 50 Salvation Army Christmas trees will be on display beginning Nov. 7 in Oakwood Mall south of the food court.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be 5 p.m. Nov. 7 at the Oakwood Mall location.

Following the ribbon cutting, sponsors will be able to decorate their trees 6-9 p.m.

The decorated trees will remain on display in the mall until Dec. 10, when they will be packaged along with donated gifts and delivered to the families by UPS.

Gragret said gifts to be delivered with Christmas trees need to be returned to the mall location or Salvation Army by Dec. 6, so volunteers will have time to package the gifts for delivery.

She said there is not a set deadline for sponsoring a Christmas tree and/or family, and sponsorships will be available until “the need is filled.”

“We’ll continue with the project after the Nov. 7 ribbon cutting until we fill the sponsorships,” Gragret said. “We just want to make sure people have enough time to get their tree decorated and get gifts back so they can be delivered to the families.”

In addition to the Christmas tree sponsorships Salvation Army is seeking support for its annual Christmas Angel drive.

Gragret said a lot of families in need may have a Christmas tree, but need help putting gifts under the tree for their kids.

Salvation Army works to match donors with those kids through the angel project, which places the names of kids in need on paper angels, which are displayed on Christmas trees at various locations in the county.

Donors select an angel from one of the trees, purchase a gift according to the information provided on the angel and return the gift in time for it to be delivered for Christmas.

Each child represented by an angel will receive at least two gifts for Christmas morning, and the family will receive food for Christmas dinner.

Gragret said she has received commitments for angel trees to be placed at Atwoods, Evans Express Pharmacy, Evans True Value Hardware, Oakwood Mall and ACB Bank of Waukomis. Additional locations may be added.

The angel trees will be available starting Nov. 7, and angel gifts will need to be returned by Dec. 15.

Angel gifts may be returned to any of the angel tree locations, to Salvation Army at 516 N. Independence or the Oakwood Mall location. Gragret said it would be “ideal to take the gifts to the mall location, because that’s the distribution location.”

Salvation Army still is accepting applications for the annual Christmas tree and angel programs. Families in need may apply for the Christmas programs by contacting Salvation Army at (580) 237-1910 or in person at 516 N. Independence to schedule an appointment. Applications will be accepted until the first week of December.

Anyone interested in sponsoring a Christmas tree or family may contact Salvation Army at the same number and address.

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