Knoxville Salvation Army needs help with Angel Tree program

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The Knoxville Salvation Army's "Angel Tree" program has 800 families with close to 1600 kids in need of help this year.

"We've had several families who have lost their job and really can't afford to provide Christmas for their children. So either they have to provide food for the table or gifts for the children. And we at the Salvation Army believe that no child should go without a Christmas," said Major Yvette Villafuerte, associate area commander for the Knoxville Salvation Army.

Tags are hanging on angel trees at several local businesses. Next Friday, Dec. 7 is the deadline for adopting angels and dropping off their requests at the Salvation Army. But in case all of the angels don't get adopted or the gifts aren't returned, the Salvation Army is asking for your help in other ways, too.

"Sometimes a lot of the gifts end up in the trunks of peoples' cars, or their tags get lost or misplaced, so we really rely on the community to purchase toys for us - do toy drives - so that those orphaned angels who don't get returned, who don't get adopted, can then be filled through your adoption, through your donation," said Villafuerte.

She said you can also help the angel tree program buy donating money to the Salvation Army, which will use the cash to buy presents for the orphaned angels.

It takes a lot of work to get ready for distribution day. Right now, volunteers are unloading, sorting and labeling presents - and some know first hand how much the hard work pays off:

"When I was young, we were recipients ourselves of the Salvation Army's help, my family was. And it's like that movie they made, Pay it Forward. So you just want to do more for other people because you know what it feels like to have a toy or two at Christmas," said Barbara Sutton, a volunteer.

The Salvation Army is looking for volunteers to help prepare for distribution day. If you're interested, you can call (865) 525-9401.

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