BUCKHANNON – The Salvation Army is gearing up to rescue Christmas for people in the community facing poverty, hunger and job loss.
In fact, there are two main ways Buckhannon and Upshur County residents can help, according to Sharla Smith, Salvation Army service unit director for the Buckhannon location.
The first is the Christmas Angel Tree program, which has been an ongoing program for many, many years with the Salvation Army nationwide. This program is designed to provide Christmas for children 12 and under who meet all the requirements and qualify for the program.
“We here at the Buckhannon Salvation Army rely on our community, local businesses and groups to assist us in making sure the Angels get adopted and Christmas wishes get fulfilled,” Smith said. “This program is designed to not only provide Christmas for the child or children, but to make things a little easier on the family.”
So far in 2020, the Buckhannon Salvation Army has 167 Angels signed up and a number of families they are working with in emergency situations. While some have been adopted, there are 60-plus Angels still waiting to be chosen by people who can afford to provide a Christmas for them.
Smith said the big change this year is that Angels were not permitted to request bicycles.
“The only thing that’s a little different this year is bikes cannot be requested because there is a shortage on bikes, and they are hard to come by, so it’s just best to not ask of that from the adoptee,” Smith said.
Currently, the Angels can be adopted at the Buckhannon Salvation Army, located at 21 N. Spring St.
With the current situation of the pandemic and the decrease of foot traffic in the locations of Angel Trees in the past, it just seems to be easier to keep the adopting of Angels in house, Smith said.
“I have found that families are joining together and adopting families,” she said. “Also, parents are adopting Angels the same age as their children to teach life lessons and an appreciation for what they have. Participating in the program to fulfill Christmas is actually rewarding and a great way to give back to our community.”
If you’re able to help the Salvation Army’s more than 60 angels who need to be adopted, please do so soon because items for Christmas are due back by Dec. 11 to enable the Salvation Army staff to prepare for distribution the following week.
Regarding red kettles, although the classic Christmastime collection method is still happening this year, it’s going to look and feel a bit different, Smith said.
“Red kettles will be limited this year as far as locations and times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so it will have a huge impact on our funds raised for assistance to the community for next year,” Smith said.
This year, to adapt to an increasingly cashless society, the Salvation Army has developed ‘Kettle Pay,’ which enables consumers to digitally donate via Apple Pay or Google Pay. You may also donate by texting ‘KETTLES’ to 91999.
Smith emphasized the funds raised from year to year are kept locally to assist Upshur County residents in need, and the amount of money collected determines the organization’s budgets in the different areas of assistance that we offer: food, clothing, utility assistance, homelessness, back-to-school and Christmas.
You can make a direct donation online to the Red Kettle Campaign specifying Upshur County or you can mail donations to: Salvation Army, P.O. Box 33, Buckhannon, WV 26201.
All donations are greatly appreciated and assist The Salvation Army in doing the ‘most good’ for our community.