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Salvation Army, Walmart seek support for children’s holiday gift program

Two well-known entities are working together to ensure children have at least one present to open up this Christmas. This holiday season is going to be different for a lot of families. With the pandemic, many families are struggling to make ends meet.

The Salvation Amry and Walmart are joining together for the Angel Tree program to support children during the holidays and hope to receive community support as well.

Instead of seeing Christmas trees filled with information of children in need of help this Christmas, you will see posters instead, as the Angel Tree program goes virtual.

“We talked a lot and went back and forth to try and figure out the best way and the safest way to meet the needs still here,” said Capt. Ben Bridges, with the Naples Salvation Army.

Bridges says they already have more than 5,000 kids in Collier County in need of assistance. To keep them and the volunteers safe, virtual was the way to go.

“We’re going to miss just as much as everyone else having those toys in hand and being able to give them to moms and dads for the kids,” Bridges said.

Because things are a little different this year and you can’t physically see the trees, there are concerns they won’t reach their goal.

“We hope they don’t forget about us,” Bridges said.

People in Collier County are hopeful all 5,000 kids will still receive a Christmas gift this year.

“I think, actually, people will probably donate more this year,” Jenna Waterbury said. “We all know that families are in need, and I think people will be more than willing to help out. Even though we are struggling financially, that’s usually when we pull together.”

You just need your zip code, and you can add gifts for the kids. Walmart will ship items directly to The Salvation Army. Anyone interested in contributing can visit the Angel Tree program web page.

“It’s a hard time,” Alberto Abad said. “And anytime you can give a little, it’s nice.”

MORE: Walmart | The Salvation Army – Angel Tree program 

Reporter:Taylor Smith
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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