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Salvation Army starts Angel Tree program

By Ed Brock

Clayton County residents in search of an angel can find one at the Salvation Army in Jonesboro next week.

Monday through Wednesday the Salvation Army will be accepting applications for participants in its Angel Tree program that provides Christmas presents for children from needy families.

"We take applications from those who want to participate in the program. From the application we prepare an angel tag with information about a child (name, age, male/female, size of clothing and toy suggestions)," said Salvation Army Capt. Natalie Sayre. "Someone sponsors an angel by shopping for that child and then returning the gifts to us for distribution."

The Angel Tree program started 25 years ago, Sayre said.

"The name comes from the fact that it was literally a tree, generally in a mall, covered with angels which each represented a needy child in the community," Sayre said. "The shoppers would stop at the tree, select an angel and bring the gifts back to the tree."

Applicants should go to the Salvation Army offices at 130 Spring Street between 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. On Tuesday there are additional hours for registration, between 5 and 7 p.m., for working parents.

The applicants should bring with them a picture identification and a Social Security card, proof that they live in Clayton County (lease, October bill) and proof of birth dates of children 12 and under such as birth certificates or shot records.

Most of the Angel Tree sponsors are companies, churches, schools and other organizations, but many individuals sponsor children as well.

The Southlake Kiwanis Club was one group that participated in the program last year.

"Pretty much everybody took at least two or three children," said Kathryn Wood, the club's past president.

The club made so many contributions that Sayre was able to use some of the gifts to help children who hadn't been sponsored.

"I love doing it because I've never had a little girl so I always pick a little girl so I can buy the pretty girl things," Wood said.

For more information on applying or to sponsor a child call Sayre at (770) 603-6258 ext. 6.