1,600 children: Locals buy Christmas presents for youth in need

Cassandra Kiel removes a little girl’s gift request from the Salvation Army Angel Tree on Thursday in the Killeen Mall.

More than 500 little white tags with children’s names on them hang on Salvation Army angel trees across Killeen, waiting to be adopted so the children they represent can receive some Christmas cheer.

Each year, the Salvation Army puts up angel trees for the community to rally behind them and select names from the trees to buy gifts for children who otherwise may not have anything come Christmas morning.

The Salvation Army of Killeen has four trees around the city — the Killeen Mall, Texas A&M University-Central Texas campus, Cheddars, and Texas Land and Cattle.

When the trees went up around the end of November, there were 1,600 names on them, and although many were adopted, there are still 573 children in need, said Capt. Christopher Bryant, Salvation Army of Killeen director.

“The support of the community is very important for this program,” he said. “We need the people in this community and this is a heartfelt plea asking that everyone help us help the children.”

Bryant said not only does taking a name from the tree help a child receive a little Christmas cheer, but it also benefits the parents.

“As a parent myself, I couldn’t imagine not being able to provide at least a small something for my child when all of their friends are getting toys,” he said. “It brings joy to the

child, but it also helps the parent know that their child is being taken care of this year.”

Bryant said the trees will be taken down Saturday, but there is one final push to make sure even children whose angels are not taken from the trees receive something on Christmas morning.

Fill the truck

The Salvation Army will be set up outside of Walmart in Killeen on Saturday collecting unwrapped toys.

“Every year, we have children who don’t get adopted from the angel trees,” Bryant said. “This event is to make sure those kids get something, too.”

Bryant said it’s as easy as buying a toy and throwing it in the truck.

Ring in a miracle

H-E-B shoppers can also help the Salvation Army during December through its “Ring in a Miracle” program.

The campaign gives shoppers the opportunity to donate $1, $3 or $5 at the checkout to the Salvation Army of Killeen.

Contact Natalie Stewart at nstewart@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7555

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