In 2016, more than 2,200 Central Indiana children will discover toys, clothing, and more under the Christmas tree because of The Salvation Army Angel Tree program.

Christmas is just around the corner, which means that parents facing financial hardships are coming to The Salvation Army in search of help making the holiday bright for their children. Each “Angel” that hangs on one of our Angel Trees, just waiting for a passerby to choose it, represents a real child in our community. Adopting an Angel does more than just provide for a child at Christmas, though. For one local mother, discovering the Angel Tree program last year led to a happier and healthier 2016 for her entire family.

Things were looking bleak last year for Marissa as she faced the very real possibility of having no gifts for her children to open on Christmas morning. As a single mother supporting four children, Marissa knew how to stretch a dollar. But because of ongoing medical issues with her youngest son, she had no savings to help make Christmas as special as she’d hoped it would be.

Angel Tree logo (web)Then Marissa stumbled on a Facebook post about a new program being offered by The Salvation Army called Angel Tree. Her two youngest children qualified, so Marissa headed to her neighborhood Salvation Army, the Eagle Creek Corps Community Center. After filling out the forms for Christmas assistance, Captain Chrissy Cooper invited Marissa to bring her children back to enjoy a special Trunk-or-Treat program aimed at providing Halloween fun to a safe, Christian environment.

“We do so much more than just Angel Tree at Christmastime,” Capt. Chrissy explains. “We have programs all throughout the year that can help families and that can build character in their children.” Marissa happily accepted the Trunk-or-Treat invitation and it wasn’t long before she and her children were familiar faces at the corps.

The kids enrolled in Salvation Army character building programs and became Sunbeams and Explorers. They joined the Singing Company and competed on the corps’ archery team when it hosted a match against Salvation Army youth teams from Lafayette and Marion, Indiana. On Tuesday nights, the children would come to Supper Club while Marissa lent a hand in the kitchen.

“Angel Tree provides ways for The Salvation Army to connect with families in the community,” Capt. Chrissy notes. “It not only provides needs for Christmas, but provides ways for the children to grow and learn more about Christ while being in a safe environment.”

As Christmas quickly approaches once more, Marissa can reflect on all the blessings her family has received in the past year. From the generosity of two strangers who adopted her youngest “Angels” to the warm welcome she received at the Eagle Creek Corps, Marissa now knows first-hand the meaning behind the words “doing the most good.”

Are you or your company interested in adopting Angels this year to help families participating in The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program? Visit our Angel Tree page or contact Mike Rowland at [email protected] to adopt today.