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Local

Angel Trees are helping Santa Claus this year

A tag from the Newton Salvation Army is attached to Angel Trees throughout Newton establishments that have suggestions for gifts for an age group of child that may be in need in Jasper County.
A tag from the Newton Salvation Army is attached to Angel Trees throughout Newton establishments that have suggestions for gifts for an age group of child that may be in need in Jasper County.

The Newton Salvation Army has its Angel Trees set up throughout Newton which encourages people to buy gifts for children in Jasper County who may not receive them otherwise.

Angel Trees are the way the Newton Salvation Army participates in Christmas assistance for those in the community who may need help according to Salvation Army Captain Janelle Cleaveland. They rely on donations from the community and Jasper County.

“We go up to age 12. All of our toys are donated from people in the community and every year, they have been very generous,” Cleaveland said.

The Angel Trees are adorned with tags that list an age of the child to shop for as well as gender and sizes for clothing. On the bottom, the Salvation Army has included ideas for toys for that age range to help those who want to donate.

“It doesn’t have to be what is on that tag. It can be anything but it is to help them,” Cleaveland said.

Even though there are no names on the tags they do represent families who have applied for Christmas assistance in Jasper County. Cleaveland said they have more than 150 kids receiving presents this year.

“We don’t put their actual names because of privacy reasons,” Cleaveland said.

The way it works is a member of the public can take a tag and purchase the gifts and bring them to the Salvation Army with the tag so staff knows which age group the gifts are for. Other organizations are getting involved, too.

“We just had people come in from Windstream and took 20 tags,” Cleaveland said.

Angel Trees are set up at different businesses throughout the community. Some of the businesses include Newton DMACC, Walmart, FNNB Bank and other various locations for all who want to donate to grab.

“We do have some toys leftover from last year, which is crazy because we are so blessed with donations,” Cleaveland said.

Tags and gifts should be returned to the Salvation Army by Dec. 18 before they set up their toy shop to allow for the family members to come in and select the toys and clothes.

“They can bring them in all the way until Dec. 18 and that will be fine. We give them out on Dec. 19,” Cleaveland said.

The tags allow for those in the community as a business or an individual to donate gifts to those in the community in need this Christmas season and help to spread the spirit of Christmas around.

“It represents a child. It represents a human being that is being helped this Christmas through the Salvation Army,” Cleaveland said. “That is what makes it all worth it is just doing for the kids and the families.”

Community support for the Salvation Army has been strong and Cleaveland is grateful to have so many generous individuals help out those in need during the holidays.

“I can’t say thank you enough to the community of Jasper County because every year we are tremendously blessed with how many toys we receive,” Cleaveland said.

Contact Dustin Teays at 641-792-3121 ext. 6533 or dteays@newtondailynews.com

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