BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It's hard to imagine Christmas is upon us, but it's even harder to imagine there are some precious children in southeast Louisiana who will not have fond memories of Christmas this year.
You see, their families have fallen on hard times. Their parents will not be able to afford toys and gifts. Santa will not slide down the chimney on Christmas Eve.
That's where the giving spirit of the community comes in. Through the Salvation Army's annual Angel Tree project, people can 'adopt' an angel and buy gifts for that special young person.
Captains Mary and Brett Meredith of the Salvation Army of Baton Rouge said there are about 450 children, or 'angels,' who have not been adopted yet and Christmas is just two weeks away.
"We deal with families that have to decide between whether they can pay the rent, whether they can pay the utility bill, whether they put food on the table for the family or whether they're going to have Christmas for their kids," the pair explained.
So, in these final days before Christmas, there is still time for you to help. Visit the Salvation Army's main location on Airline Highway. Enter the store and get a bag with an angel's name and wish list from the store manager. If your schedule is so rushed you cannot make it to the Salvation Army in person, call (225) 355-4483 and press "0" to connect to the store manager. Give the manager your e-mail address and the Salvation Army will e-mail an angel's name and wish list to you! Then, just go shopping!
The Hand It On team decided to take this week's Hand It On money and do exactly that. The crew went to Walmart. It was actually fun and the Salvation Army has the program so organized that it was a breeze. We were in and out of Walmart in about 30 minutes. We bought all of the items on each of the three lists, which included toys and clothing.
"The tag stapled on each bag has the child's name and age and gender and then the sizes that child wears, as well as a gift suggestion," Capt. Mary Meredith said. "Along with the toy suggestion, there is also a 'need' like clothing or a winter coat."
You may stick to the wish list on the tag or buy anything you think that child would enjoy. It's up to you. Then, place the unwrapped gifts into the bag and return it to the Salvation Army. And, if you find yourself running late, don't worry. The Salvation Army's gift drop off at the back of the store is open 24 hours a day through Christmas.
All gifts must be turned in by Tuesday, December 15. Families who have qualified to receive Angel Tree donations will pick up their gifts the next day.
That's how easy it is.
No words will be able to describe the warm feeling you will get shopping for your angel. You will certainly be blessed by the true meaning of Christmas. Then, while you're enjoying hot coco in front of your warm fire, sit back and imagine the smile on little faces Christmas morning. They'll wake up, rush to the Christmas tree and see that their wishes came true. Santa Claus really came! Remember that feeling? Remember seeing that excitement in your own child's face each year?
No child should be denied those memories, which will last their entire life. Thanks to you and programs like the Salvation Army's Angel Tree, no child will.