Salvation Army behind on gift donations for kids

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COLUMBIA - The holiday season is here, and those willing to give back have plenty of options this year.

One way to give back is through the Salvation Army. As tradition, The Salvation Army has angel tags spread throughout Columbia for people to take. 

"The Salvation Army from its inception has provided toys and food for families at Christmas time," Major Beth Trimmell, the Director of Special Services, said. "Families who realize they are going to need help for Christmas come and apply to us through our formal Christmas Assistance program, and they tell us what their children want."

There are angel tags hung from Christmas trees throughout Columbia with these children's wishes.

The process is simple: Find a tree (three trees are in different Walmart stores throughout Columbia), grab a tag, buy the gift, and put it back under the tree with the angel tag attached or bring it to the Salvation Army office on Ash Street. 

Trimmell said this year there was some miscommunication about when the trees were to go in to stores, and The Salvation Army is in great need of donated gifts.

"We really need shoppers this weekend to go out and select some angels from the tree and purchase toys and get them back to us quickly because our distribution is next Thursday and Friday," Trimmell said.

The office where the gifts are kept is almost empty except for a few gifts and bikes that have already been donated. There are a few companies in Columbia that participate as well. Shelter insurance, MU and curves all collect gifts from employees and customers alike.

Curves didn't have an actual tree, but they are participating for their fourth year. The owner said her clients are very generous women who love to give back. 

"The ladies are givers," Patricia Jacques said. "Most of my ladies are grandmothers, some don't have a family so this is their way of just wanting to put a smile on a child's face."

Salvation Army believes in the community and knows people will step up.

"We really are hoping that this community will step up," Trimmell said. "And it's a great community with really generous people, and we feel real confident that if they knew about our need, which we do have, that they'll get out and get some toys for kids."

Trimmell urges people to donate as soon as possible. The last day of the gift drive is December 19.

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