Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

Salvation Army working to bring Christmas joy to kids

The new Orange County Salvation Army captains only recently arrived here with their young children and are jumping into the community effort to make sure families with financial difficulties will be having a happy Christmas.

Captains Dante and Tiffany Salgado are facing an unusual problem this year with the Angel Tree program. For the past several years, employees at International Paper have provided wishes for dozens of kids on the Angel Tree list. In November, the corporation has announced the paper mill will be closing at the end of the year. The generous employees may be facing their own financial hardships.

The traditional Angel Tree program takes wishes from children. An individual, church, civic group, or business may "adopt" one or more of the Angel Tree kids.

An Angel Tree card is filled out with the wishes and sizes of the child. The goal is to help each one get a toy they want and items of clothing. The "adopters" then turn in the gifts with the card to the Salvation Army, which distributes them to the parents.

This year, more than 400 kids across Orange County have Angel Tree wish cards. They are displayed on special trees at Walmart stores in Orange County. Walmart even has an online registry for people who want to help a kid in the program. By going to http://www.walmartangeltree.com and then searching for Salvation Army of Orange, a person can find out what a child wants and then purchase items from Walmart. The store will deliver the gifts to the local Salvation Army for distribution.

The Angel Tree program isn't the only holiday event for the Salvation Army. The traditional Red Kettle and bell-ringing campaign for donations will officially kick off on Thanksgiving Day with Dolly Parton at the Dallas Cowboys football game.

Red Kettles will be set up at Market Basket, Kroger, and Walmart stores in Orange County beginning this Friday, November 24, through December 23. The kettles will be out those days from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

All donations collected in the kettles will be used throughout the year for local Salvation Army to assist individuals and families for things like groceries and utility bills.

Volunteer bell ringers are welcomed to help out, whether individuals, families, churches, businesses, or other groups. People can sign up to help with the kettles through the website registertoring.com. Or, they may call Captain Dante Salgado at 832-526-9689.

Donations for the season are already coming in. The St. Mary's Knights of Columbus has made their annual donation of new children's coats. Also, Constable Matt Ortego in Vidor held a party with each person bringing a new toy donation getting a bowl of gumbo.

The Lutcher Theater gathered donations of kids pajamas and blankets during recent shows.

The Orange Service League will be holding its 67th Annual Toy Coffee will be on December 7 in the Old Orange Historic District. The home of Beth and Kenneth Wheeler at 1008 Pine Avenue, along with the tiny Victorian house they recently restored known as "Miss Laura's School" at 606 Seventh Street, will be featured.

The houses will be decorated for the season and open for tours to people bringing a new, unwrapped toy, or cash donation for the Salvation Army.

The annual food drive sponsored by Granger Chevrolet and kogt.com will be held the morning of December 7. Non-perishable food donations are collected and distributed to the Salvation Army of Orange, along with Orange Christian Services.

The community charity groups of Salvation Army, Bridge City-Orangefield Ministerial Alliance, and United Christian Care Center of Vidor coordinate to help families.


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