Individuals can be an angel to those in need this holiday season.
The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree campaign is now underway, which is “designed to help fulfill the holiday wishes of keiki and kupuna,” said Lt. Jacob Bratton, corps officer for the Salvation Army in Hilo.
Participants share what they need and Angel Tree tags are then made up with the gift lists and placed on trees around the community.
According to the Salvation Army website, people are invited pick a tag from an Angel Tree, purchase the requested or an equivalent gift, then return it to the same location with the tag. The gifts will be delivered to the chosen “angel” before Christmas.
The Angel Tree program has been going on “for quite some time,” Bratton said, and the need is there.
“You have plenty of families that are struggling. That’s everywhere, but especially here … Especially this past year, there have been families that have been hit hard, that have been affected by the lava flow or Hurricane Lane.
“I think we’ve definitely seen an increase in people trying to apply for (the program) and signing up for it, but on the other hand, we too have seen an increase in people wanting to fulfill those needs.”
Although he was unsure of the number of participants this year, Bratton said the Salvation Army has seen about a 25 percent increase in people wanting to sign up for the Angel Tree program.
“We have more signed up and approved than in previous years,” he said.
The requests and needs are still the same, Bratton said, “just an increase.”
Locally, Bratton said Angel Trees can found at Central Pacific Bank, HomeStreet Bank, Balancing Monkey Yoga and Onomea Federal Credit Union.
An Angel Tree is also located near Sears in Prince Kuhio Plaza.
At the Prince Kuhio Plaza tree last Friday, Lt. Danielle Bratton said that there weren’t a lot of drop-offs at that point, but that a “wonderful amount of tags have gone out.”
Jacob Bratton said people can also help by donating to the Salvation Army’s red kettles, where “every penny really does make a difference.”
Email Stephanie Salmons at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald