Striving to help area families in need have a brighter Christmas, Bartow County Toys for Tots and The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree campaigns are enrolling recipients this week. Presented at The Salvation Army’s office at 16 Felton Place in Cartersville, sign-ups for both efforts will take place through Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
To enroll in the Angel Tree program, which assists children ages newborn to 13, parents and legal guardians will need to bring Social Security cards for all household members, Georgia state ID or driver’s license, proof of income, children’s birth certificates, official custody documents if the youth is not the adult’s biological child, children’s shoe and clothing sizes, two wishes less than $40 each and an interpreter for Spanish-speaking applicants.
“Over 650 children were assisted through the Cartersville Angel Tree program in the 2016 Christmas season,” Salvation Army Capt. Scott Lyles said. “The Angel Tree program helps a variety of families that come from all kinds of needs. Some of these families are people who have known poverty their entire lives, some have only recently fallen on hard times. Some are single parents who are expecting to have trouble providing for their families on a single income. Some are duel-parent homes with both parents working full-time jobs. Some are parents who are battling sickness or injuries and are having trouble keeping up with their bills.
“Whatever the reason they come for assistance may be, they all apply because they know they’ll need help. In today’s society, asking for help isn’t always easy. Because of this, any of the gifts they receive from people within our own community does not go unappreciated. Adopting one ‘angel’ means that there is a parent somewhere in our own hometown that can breathe a little easier knowing that their child will have a merry Christmas.”
In addition to prospective recipients, The Salvation Army also is seeking organizations and businesses that would like to feature the nonprofit’s Angel trees. Once the trees are installed Nov. 6, individuals will select a paper ornament containing a child’s first name, clothing size and suggested gifts. Anonymous donors will need to deliver the contributions, unwrapped, by Dec. 16 to the tree location or The Salvation Army.
Toys for Tots
For the Toys for Tots’ sign-ups, applicants will be required to produce proof of Bartow County residency other than driver’s license, picture ID and a birth certificate or Social Security card for each child — newborn to 13 — receiving assistance.
“We were able to help over 4,300 children last year in Bartow County,” said Richard Goodson, president of Bartow County Toys for Tots. “With the community donations and the business donations, we have never had to say no to any qualified applicants. The support from the community is what makes this campaign a great success.
“We always hope the need for us will be less each year, but usually the need increases. We believe that every child deserves a new toy on Christmas morning. That’s what it is all about to us. I have the best volunteers an organization could ask for.”
During its distribution Dec. 16, the Toys for Tots campaign will supply each pre-selected child with four toys and stocking stuffers. Along with urging area residents to donate toys for this effort, Toys for Tots also is in need of organizations to place collection boxes at their locations.
“We are always looking for places in the community and businesses to place the boxes for collecting toys,” Goodson said. “They will be located in many places throughout the city and county. They will be going out around the last two weeks of October and remain until Dec. 12.
“All boxes are marked with our name, and the names of John and Amanda Pruitt. They are the collectors and have been for many years. A contact number will also be on our boxes. All toys donated in Bartow County will stay in Bartow County. We do not send them anywhere but here. All donated money is spent on toys in Bartow County. There are no paid salaries in our organization, so all donated money is spent on Christmas.”
Along with contacting Goodson at 404-593-3547, individuals interested in the Toys for Tots effort can visit its Facebook page for updates.
“We would like to thank the people and businesses of Bartow County for always stepping up [to] the plate and making a child’s dream of Santa visiting a reality,” Goodson said. “Our success depends on the community donations, and we have never been let down.
“I would like to hope that one day, Toys for Tots would only be a memory, that all the children would have Christmas without any organization help. But until that day comes, Bartow County Toys for Tots will be here to make sure Santa stops at all the children’s houses in Bartow County. You can keep up with everything by going to our Facebook page, Bartow County Toys for Tots. We keep this updated on all events and announcements.”