Nashville, TN – The Salvation Army Nashville Area Command reports the level of Angel Tree assistance has remained steady for the past two consecutive years. In 2012, the Angel Tree program assisted 4,457 families in the Greater Nashville Area. Over 85,645 gifts were distributed to 18,659 pre-screened “angels”–impoverished children and elderly. In 2011, the organization served 18,918 angels. Companies around Nashville provided 120 families in the Adopt a Family program more than 4,072 toys for distribution. During the season we had more than 3,508 volunteers give 10,982 hours of their combined time to assist with the Angel Tree Program.
Lt. Col. Charles White, Nashville Area Commander for The Salvation Army stated, “Going into the 2012 Christmas season, The Army tried to prepare as much as possible to once again handle over 18,000 angels. At first we were uncertain how we would fulfill each and every one of our angel’s wishes but that’s when you’ve got to have faith. Our response to the growing need was made possible by our supporters across Middle Tennessee who really are angels to these families in need. With the challenging economy we feel these numbers will continue to hold steady in coming years.”
“The Salvation Army took on the angel tree program with arms wide open. The support of all three area malls – The Mall at Green Hills, Cool Springs Galleria, and RiverGate – provided our organization with prime locations to set up angel tree booths. Each angel tree was stocked with available angels. However, come early December, thousands of angels were left un-adopted. Each year we have to re-evaluate different avenues of giving.”
The Forgotten Angel program, sponsored by Daily’s Convenience Stores and Lamar Advertising, was able to collect thousands of additional toys in the Daily’s and Twice Daily’s Convenience Stores. Cumulus Radio also hosted Toy Field at LP Stadium and collected more than 3,500 toys from their listeners. Media Sponsor, WSMV- Channel 4 hosted the Angel Tree Telethon in December which raised over $30,000 for the program.
Additionally, radio partners, MIX 92.9 with its unique “Angels on the Air” campaign adopted over 500 angels to listeners through their radio station.
Lt. Col. White also announced that this year’s Kroger Food Angel Tree program was able to provide each registered Angel Tree family with a $25 gift card in addition to funding year-round feeding programs provided to families in need by The Salvation Army.
A new program added to the mix this year was the Online Angel Tree which allowed internet users to shop for specific angels right from their computer. “We were blessed to have 700 angels adopted online,” said Lt. Col. Shirley White, Assistant Area Commander.
The Angel Tree program is one of The Salvation Army’s highest profile Christmas efforts. Angel Tree gives individuals and partnering corporations an opportunity to adopt angels – less fortunate children, seniors and disabled adults – and provide personalized gifts and necessities to those who would otherwise receive very little or nothing during the holiday season. Donors can be confident that their gifts go directly, and without excessive overhead, to those who are truly needy since all Salvation Army Angels are not served by other holiday assistance programs.
The first Angel Tree program in the United States was created by The Salvation Army in 1979 by Captains 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 that featured pictures of angels. They placed the cards on a Christmas tree at the mall to allow shoppers to select children to help. 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 in 1982, when the Whites were transferred to Nashville, Tennessee, Angel Tree was launched in the Music City. Last year, the organization celebrated 30 years of the Angel Tree program in Nashville.
For more information on The Salvation Army Angel Tree Program please visit our website at www.salarmy-nashville.org or contact Jennifer Eldridge at 615-242-04112, extension 243 or email Jennifer_Eldridge@uss.salvationarmy.org.