I always get a lot of questions about the Angel Tree this time of year. Here are the answers to some of the most popular.
What is the Angel Tree? According to the Salvation Army, the Angel Tree program reaches over 5,000 children in central Arkansas. The Salvation Army asks screened families to fill out a "wish list" and you can fulfill it for a child in need. The kids request clothes, coats and normally a toy of some kind. Last year, for example, the younger kids I played Santa for asked for bikes. The older one asked for an mp3 player. You can choose what angel you want and see their wishlist right up front. The gifts are then brought to the Salvation Army (or the mall) and delivered to the family in time for Christmas.
Where can I adopt an angel? The two main, manned, Angel Tree locations are in Park Plaza Mall. There, you can actually talk to a volunteer and pick your angel out. However, Wal-Mart stores all over the city have angels (I haven't been to one that does not). The employees at Wal-Mart generally do not know a lot about the process or the charity. You are kind of on your own.
Where do I return the gifts? You return the unwrapped gifts to the same location you adopted the angel or the Salvation Army headquarters at 1111 West Markham Street. If you don't have time to pick an angel, they will also accept unwrapped toys and gifts for angels who didn't get picked.
How much should I spend? The Salvation Army says there is no set amount, but the recommend amount $30 per child. You are encouraged to buy them at least one item of clothing and one toy. Thirty dollars doesn't go far, and I normally end up spending more (some of the kids have wishes like bikes or electronic games). However, many angels don't get picked at all. If you only have $30 to spare, it's a worthy cause to just get a few things on their list.
Are donations tax deductible? Yes. Save your receipts!
When is the deadline? The deadline to apply to be an Angel is pretty early (about four months before Christmas). The deadline to adopt or return your Angel Tree gifts is December 16, 2012. I've been told that deadline may be different at some Wal-Mart stores, but the ones I've checked have said the 16th as well.
How do I apply? The application period takes place well before Christmas. Applications are normally accepted for a week in early October. After the application deadline, no more angels will be accepted. To apply you must bring a photo ID, birth Certificates for all children, proof of income for the last month for all members in household, proof of expenses for the last month (including copies of bills) and any other pertinent documentation you feel needs to be considered.
Bills must be in the name of person seeking assistance. Bills such as rent or mortgage, electric, gas, water, phone, cable, medical bills alimony, auto insurance Electric/Gas/Water/Phone/Cable/WaterMedical bill you pay each monthChild Supp, etc. all count. You must also bring proof of wages and any social security benefits, disability, child support or alimony you receive. Call the Salvation Army in early October to find out more details.