INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — We’re not even past Halloween, but it’s already time to talk Christmas and the holiday season.
Deadlines are fast approaching to sign up for present assistance. Places like the Salvation Army and Toys for Tots are currently accepting applications.
“We ask the parents, ‘What does your kid need? Do you need a bed, sheets, uniforms for school?'” Salvation Army Captain Branne Bowers said.
These two agencies help families who can’t get their kids any presents for Christmas and every year the need has increased.
Last year, the Salvation Army provided presents to 5,300 children in their Angel Tree program. This year, they expect to serve 8,000. The rise could be because the Salvation Army Indiana division adopted United Christmas Service, United Way’s long-running holiday assistance effort.
Toys for Tots served 40,000 last year. This year they expect to help 60,000 children in Central Indiana.
“A lot of those counties we found out did not know that they could be supported by Toys for Tots,” Local Civilian Coordinator Sabrina Young said.
If you need assistance through the Angel Tree you can sign up starting October 21 at their two locations. Sign-ups end on October 31. You must bring an ID, birth certificates, proof of income and address. In order to qualify for Angel Tree, you must fall below the poverty line. They provide gifts to newborns up to 12-years-old.
Toys for Tots is accepting applications from schools and non-profits through November 8. They serve children up to 14-years-old.
The Salvation Army and Toys for Tots are depending on the public to make wishes come true on Christmas.
“This program has always been driven by the kindness of everyday citizens all over the country,” Young said.
Toys for Tots bins will start appearing in different stores and restaurants soon for anyone who wants to make a donation.
The Angel Tree goes up on November 15 at Castleton Mall and Greenwood Mall.
The Salvation Army now allows people to go online to pick an angel and buy gifts.