BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It could be a Christmas of long faces for hundreds of Baton Rouge children because the Salvation Army will begin giving gifts to families from its Angel Tree program, but this year, the program is well short on donations.
Looking through the Christmas wishes listed on the Salvation Army Angel tree, there are many items - like clothes, bikes and games - that you expect, while others are just basic necessities.
"Oh, here's a little baby, just a baby," read Capt. Mary Meredith with the Greater Baton Rouge Salvation Army. "Mom needs clothes for the baby."
It's those wishes that Salvation Army volunteers are working hard to fulfill as the days to Christmas morning draw closer. The Salvation Army had nearly 4,000 children throughout the greater Baton Rouge area sign up for its Angel Tree program.
"If we can help with food or we can help with toys, perhaps they can pay their rent or electricity," Meredith explained.
Beginning Tuesday morning, families will go to the Salvation Army's Distribution Center inside Cortana Mall near entrance three to pick up their gifts.
"Over the next three days, this place will go from looking like a Walmart store full of items to hopefully being near empty," said Capt. Brett Meredith, the area commander.
However, less than 24 hours before families arrive, there are many empty boxes.
"We're coming to a conclusion this year and we're still short in terms of providing what's needed for the children," Capt. Brett Meridith added.
There were nearly 400 angels that were not adopted. While it's too late to adopt the remaining angels, there is still a chance to help. Donations of new clothes or toys can be dropped off at the distribution center until 8 p.m. Tuesday. Volunteers said clothes for girls sizes 6-16 and toys for girls are especially needed.
"The kids, they're just so happy when Christmas comes and they have something special for them. So, whatever someone would pick out would be just the right thing for that child," Capt. Mary Meredith said.
The volunteers also said there are many adopted angels that have not had gifts dropped off. Capt. Brett Meredith said if you adopted a child, it's vital to drop off any gifts by Tuesday evening.