Salvation Army Accepts Applicants, Donations for Angel Tree Program

Chronline-2 months before

Salvation Army Lieutenant Gin Pack told The Chronicle the tradition has been a part of the organization for so long she couldn’t pinpoint when it started. “It’s been at least 30 years,” she reckoned.

“We get … to provide hope and that magic of Christmas. And that’s what keeps our volunteers coming back, it is just a really fun environment,” Pack said.

Salvation Army started taking applications for the program on Monday, and they are eager to hear from Lewis County families as they have set a hi...her bar this year in terms of the number of families they want to help.

Last year, the program helped approximately 350 families who turned in applications and this year, realizing that more families might be hurting due to the coronavirus pandemic they are setting the goal of helping as many as 550 families get Christmas gifts under their trees.

The requirements to participate in the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program are extremely low-barrier, “they just have to have minor children under 18 and live in Lewis County,” Pack said. 

Pack said she and her husband Steve, who together run the Centralia Salvation Army, make those requirements to participate minimal because it fits into their philosophy of being conscious that everyone’s needs look a little different.

“Just because someone makes a certain amount of money doesn’t mean they have a certain amount going out,” Pack said. “We really want to be sensitive to those individuals who are the working poor, they are really struggling too.”

Some of the applicants are referred to the organization through the Department of Social and Health Services, Pack said, but Lewis County families can apply for the program themselves by calling the Centralia Salvation Army office at 360-736-4339.

While the goal the Salvation Army set for itself this year is loftier, the program will look a little different than it has in past years.

Traditionally, families would come into their office over a four-day period to get signed up and get an appointment date to come in and pick out gifts.

This year, Pack said the Salvation Army is asking families to call in advance to find a time and date to come in and get an application filled out so they can adhere to social distancing measures.

Pack said some If you are interested in donating gifts to the Salvation Army for their program, you have a few options to help out.

First and foremost, you could call Salvation Army at the same number and let them know you want to bring gifts by their office.

Or, perhaps if you live in Chehalis and want to donate gifts at a location closer to you, the Salvation Army has partnered up with a few businesses that have Angel Tree dropoff location inside their store.

The Salvation Army has partnered with the Chehalis Walmart and Starbucks, buth located on Northwest Louisiana Avenue, as well as the Centralia Starbucks at 1161 Harrison Ave.

The third option is the adopt-a-family program, which Pack characterized as a “subsect of the Angel Tree program.”

Families who are eligible for the adopt-a-family program will be partnered up with another family who will buy gifts exclusively for the family in need.

The barriers are a little higher for the adopt-a-family program, Pack noted. They can’t be referred by DSHS and it is reserved for families “who we recognize have had undue hardship in the past 12 months,” Pack said.

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