Angel Tree 2010

By: Jason Pederson

North Little Rock - Despite little advance notice or publicity, hundreds showed up Monday in central Arkansas to register for assistance through the Salvation Army's Angel Tree program.

Worried that the need may be greater than the support, there is a change this year.

Georgena Clay of North Little Rock will not be impacted.

Ms. Clay will have her nursing degree soon. But for now, she is a struggling, single parent of four.

She is counting on Angel Tree assistance this holiday season.

"If I could find those people who picked my children off the Angel Tree I would greatly thank them because I appreciate those people who pick my children off the Angel Tree list," says Ms. Clay.

And it looks like there will be a lot of angels to choose from this year.

"I've seen clients today that have never been Angel Tree recipients before," says Salvation Army Major April Taylor. "So this isn't all about the same people coming to receive the same gifts every year. This is about need."

And all applicants will have to prove need before they receive assistance.

Each is asked to produce a picture ID, social security cards for every member of the household, birth certificates for all children who qualify for assistance, custody papers if an adult who has custody of a child who is not their biological child, income for all household members and a copy of all monthly bills.

"I want to see their light bill," says Major Taylor. "I want to see their gas bill. I want to see their rent. I want to see their cable...if they have cable. I want to see what their phone bill looks like. We want a snapshot of their monthly income."

To help make support go farther, making it more difficult to qualify for help was considered.

Instead, the age limit of those eligible to get help was loweredfrom 15 and under to 12 and under.

"It is much more reasonable to ask our volunteers and community supporters to back us helping those that are 12 and under than it is to help us with those that get into their teen ages," explains Major Taylor. "Our thinking in this is it lets us stretch it just a little bit more. When you get to be into the teens you tend to understand a little more. It's not about Santa Claus and gift giving and they better understand the responsibility that goes with that."

Georgena's children are ages 11, 8, 6 and 4.

"Without Angel Tree I wouldn't be able to get my kids the things that they need," says Ms. Clay. "And Angel Tree helps me provide the things that my kids need and the things that they want."

In central Arkansas there will be seven more days to sign up for angel tree assistance, including tomorrow:

LOCATION: North Little Rock Salvation Army, 1505 West 18th Street 72114

DATES: OCT. 19th 9:00 am to 3:00 pm

6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

OCT. 20th 9:00 am to 3:00 pm

OCT. 21st 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

OCT. 25th 9:00 am to 3:00 pm

OCT. 26th 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

OCT. 27th 9:00 am to 3:00 pm

OCT. 28th 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Spanish interpreters will be available at each shift.

Air date: October 18th, 2010