It’s Closing Time

The following was contributed by Guest Blogger Amanda Grieves, Human Resources Manager, Social Media Director and Angel Tree Program Coordinator at The Salvation Army Nashville Area Command.

With the last sweep of the broom across the cold concrete floor, I stand and stare out across the 48,000+ sq feet of warehouse space.  As I lean against the wooden handle, I can almost make out the chatter of voices from families waiting for their number to be called so they could register their children for the Angel Tree program.  I can hear the swish of papers and the rhythmic tapping of pens as volunteers and staff complete the applications for each person.

I set the broom handle against the wall and take a seat on the peeling yellow railing that once served as a boundary between the thoroughfare that volunteers used to collect gifts for families and the “Forgotten Angel Shop.”  I can still see long white tables lined up with handmade signs signifying ages and clothing sizes for our precious angels.  Of the 5000 families we served many angels were not adopted or shopped for so the Forgotten Angel Shop, items donated via Daily’s Convenience Store and Toy Field, etc. served as a resource for us to pick age appropriate items for each child or senior citizen so that no angel was ever left behind!

As the noon day sun tries to stream through the various cracks in the wall of the warehouse, I make my way to it’s center and kneel down to scrape away at the left over duct tape that helped mark the many white paper lines that held 30 bags a piece.  Each red and silver plastic bag adorned a label with the family’s name and inside were gifts and stockings compliments of this amazing community.  I can still feel the hustle and bustle of days when hundreds of volunteers made their way through each bag, inspecting it to make sure that every angel was accounted for.  The whoosh of our grocery carts that families, friends and co-workers would push feverishly back and forth from angel tree bags to the Forgotten Angel Shop and back.  I glance up and stare at the bay doors that on any given day were opened and closed as gifts continued to pour in.

I switch off the lights and exit through the side door.  As I head in the direction of my car,I’m taken back to the 3rd week of December and can suddenly hear peals of laughter coming from vehicles as children who were waiting inside see the large bags being carried out by a volunteer to their car.  The beautiful faces of girls and boys of all ages, covering their eyes with mittened hands, promising not to look.  Parents quickly placing the bags in the trunks and floorboards of cars that were battered and worn.  I can still feel the many hugs received and see the thousands of tears that fell from grateful moms, dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles.  Some were unable to speak as their lips trembled and they wiped away the dampness from their cheeks, but we knew and embraced them; letting them know they are not alone and that God will see them thru this.

For the next few months, items will be boxed up, the warehouse will remain vacant and locked but it’s only temporary….soon enough the planning will begin, the logistics will kick in, the information will be dispersed and another season of Christmas joy will be shared with families who are seeking hope, light and love!  It’s closing time for now as it pertains to the Angel Tree program but the connections, the friendships, the stories, the lives impacted and changed will continue on……….

“Cast off all bonds of prejudice and custom, and let the love of Christ, which is in you, have free course to run out in all conceivable schemes and methods of labour for the souls of men.” Catherine Booth

13 Comments on “It’s Closing Time

  1. I wanted to inform you that none of the links that say “Click here” work. also, why is there no info as to how to sign up to receive from this program? I see you keep talking about the millions that are donated etc.. and every sentence there is a link to donate, but how does one sign up to be an angel?
    You sure make it alot easier to give than u do to receive.

  2. Hi, Brigitte- apologies about the confusion. This post was published after last year’s Angel Tree program. To sign up for assistance this year, please contact The Salvation Army in your area. You can find this contact info by entering your zip code at: http://www.SalvationArmyUSA.org.

    Thank you so much. Blessings to you this Christmas season!

  3. Hi Megan. I have a baby girl and I didn’t know that salvation army gives free gifts and I’m not working now. I dnt have the money to buy my baby Christmas gifts. I call salvation army in greenville but they say they are not doing in it anymore do you know a wedside.

  4. Hi Meagan I have 3little girls that’s not going to have a Christmas becouse I had to pay for rent I being looking for people to help its being so hard for me we nd the help I would like them to have a Christmas

  5. Closing time? I’ve participated yearly, since 1998, with out a second thought. – first in Redding, California then Chico, California. And now that I’m in Santa Rosa, I haven’t any idea where to find an Angel Tree, but I want to participate, again. There’s a feeling I have, when doing it, and I’ll feel disappointed, if I can’t do it, this year.

  6. Hi John – we appreciate your support. Most Salvation Army locations participate in the Angel Tree program. Please reach out to your local branch to find out how you can get involved. Visit http://www.SalvationArmyUSA.org for a list of locations in your area. Thanks again and God bless you!

  7. Priscila – thank you for reaching out! All requests for assistance should be made through your local Salvation Army office as resources and programs vary by community. You can find this contact info at http://www.SalvationArmyUSA.org. If you have trouble reaching someone there, please send us your exact needs and full contact info to MediaRelations@USN.SalvationArmy.org. Thank you in advance!

  8. Hello. I have been searching to find out how to sign up to receive an angel tree to set up at work. I have a bunch of hoops to jump through to try and get one and even then, its not a guarantee. I have never seen a tree in town for anyone to go to and help.
    Thanks.

  9. Hello my name hope ..I need help with christmas for my boys they 7 and 8 all my money had go to rent and car payment .can you guys help us out so my kids had gife .see if a family pick us my put us on Angle tree .I just hope family or church can help out. So my kids had give at Christ mas..please email.. me or call my 321 460 3774 my name. Hope Ann….

  10. This hope Ann ….u can email or call me 3214603774 I hope someone can help my family out… so call me or email I hope god can help me out

  11. I Have 3 Kids 16 year boy And 12 year old Boy And 6 year old daughter i would like To sign UP To be able To bring them a gift At xmas time Since this xmS i cant do it For My Kids
    Hope i can GET Help For My family 424 2662247

  12. Hello, I’m looking for a program to help out this Christmas for my kiddos. I’ve been out of work sick for a little over a month. If you have any suggestions please let me know. If not my kids are grateful for anything I can get without complaints. But I don’t think they should suffer because mommy is to sick to work right now. Thanks. My name is Holly and you may contact me at 618-504-9055…thanks and season greetings everyone..

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