Helping the Most Vulnerable Experience Christmas Joy
The following was contributed by Jennifer Fisher, Social Media Specialist, for The Salvation Army of Chattanooga, TN. Visit their blog for the latest updates at salvationarmychattanooga.wordpress.com. You can also find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheSalvationArmyChattanooga and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SalArmyChattown.
With the holidays rapidly approaching, The Salvation Army will touch thousands of people’s lives who might otherwise not have anything under their tree this Christmas. Through The Salvation Army Angel Tree Program, which started in Virginia in 1979, necessities and Christmas gifts are provided for disadvantaged children and senior citizens (age 60 and older).
Because of our generous community, in 2011, the Greater Chattanooga Area Salvation Army was able to provide 4,813 angels with Christmas joy!
I have been with The Salvation Army for over three years, or as we like to count in The Army, this will be my fourth Christmas. Every year I am amazed at the generosity of our community and how many people step up to help one another through their monetary donations, collection drives and volunteering their time.
We have so many volunteers who work hard to ensure that others in need will have a brighter Christmas. It’s truly a wonderful sight to go to the distribution location to see the happy faces of the families picking up their Christmas gifts as well as the volunteers who are happy to be serving. There is always laughter, hugs and tears of joy on these days.
One of our Angel Tree donors wrote:
“I usually try to do something special at Christmas – pay a utility bill anonymously, help inner city kids at church, contribute to a food drive, etc. At the mall I was drawn to your Angel Tree. For my Angel, I chose a 9 year old girl. Because I have no children & don’t recognize a lot of toys & teen idols, I chose her because she had “wish” choices that I could identify.
First on the list was a CD player. I thought (expensive); stick to smaller stuff. Then I remembered how excited I was when I received my own record player for Christmas when I was eleven. Because of this memory, I went to Kmart & found a small CD player and a CD of her favorite singer. I also bought her a book & poster of her heart throb (I had to ask who this young boy was). At the Gap, I bought her a matching scarf, hat, and gloves.
I spent more than I expected, but I remembered how hard it was growing up knowing that I would not receive many gifts at Christmas. My parents worked hard to provide some “extra” things under the tree for my siblings and me. It was a wonderful feeling to help this little girl and her family! I hope everyone will be touched by the love of Christ and the true meaning of Christmas!”
This is a time for family and friends, warmth and good food, gifts and laughter. I feel so blessed that I work for a ministry like The Salvation Army where I can help make sure even the most vulnerable in our community experience the joy of this Season.
May our Lord richly bless you and your loved ones during this Christmas Season!