As of Thursday afternoon, 170 angels in the Pottawatomie County area had not been returned with gifts to the Salvation Army, according to Carol Tomlinson with the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary.
“This is getting really serious,” she said.
Tomlinson said the 170 missing angels are only from the Shawnee area and the number is not including areas like Seminole where angel donations are also down.
“We serve also Lincoln and Seminole Counties,” said Lt. Philip Canning. “We’re going to be short there as well.”
While Tomlinson said weather might be to partially blame, she also fears with Christmas right around the corner, many people have forgotten about the angels.
“We’ve never had this much trouble in the past several years,” she said.
Lt. Philip Canning said the 170 angels have been picked up by individuals from angel trees around town but have just not been returned with gifts. He said individuals who still have angels should make sure they return angels and donations by the end of the weekend.
“We need those gifts as quickly as possible,” he said.
Tomlinson said they plan to start distribution of the gifts at the beginning of next week.
Canning said even if people didn’t adopt an angel, donations could still be made by giving generic toys and clothes for any age. He said those items will be distributed to the angels that have not been returned.
Tomlinson said some generic gifts could include board games, dolls, educational games, building blocks, puzzles, children’s books, cars and trucks, action figures, basketballs and footballs, and any other toy that could be given to a child of any age. She added they are also in need of clothing items to distribute to the angels.
“We need coats,” she said, adding she was heading out in search of as many coats as she could find Thursday afternoon.
Canning agreed, adding jeans and T-shirts for all ages along with coats are needed by the end of the weekend.
With angel tree numbers down, Canning added Red Kettle numbers are down $13,000 from last year with not a lot of time remaining.
“The next couple of weeks are extremely vital,” Canning said.
The Red Kettle program is the single largest fundraiser of the year, said Canning, adding the proceeds not only help the Salvation Army with the Christmas season but also year-round.
“We’re feeling the pressure,” he said.
Canning said even if donations amount up to the same every day, the Salvation Army will still come up about $12,000 less than previous years due to the lost week alone.
Page 2 of 2 - Canning said if 12 people would make a single donation each of $1,000, that would fill in the lost week but said any amount is welcomed and will help.
“We need the people’s support to get through this time,” he said.