By Kail Williams – Special to the Pahrump Valley Times
Many people may already be familiar with the Angel Tree program headed by the Salvation Army each year.
Trees are set up at different locations around town and shoppers are encouraged to pick a child’s name tag or “angel” off the tree.
The tags contain information about a less fortunate child, including name, age, clothing sizes and a Christmas wish list of three items they would like to get for Christmas.
Shoppers take these tags into consideration when buying a gift for their “angel” and return it along with the gifts to either the location of the store sponsoring the tree or the Salvation Army directly.
While this is special to individual children, there are a few children who year after year fall through the gaps. The Salvation Army’s effort to fill those gaps took place Saturday with a one-day nationwide “Fill-the-Truck” event.
In partnership with Walmart, the Salvation Army had trucks available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. collecting toys and other children’s gifts.
Salvation Army Capt. Mark King said, “It’s happening all over the country, and they’re allowing us to have either a big Salvation Army truck, or trailer in this case, for people to fill with new unwrapped toys.”
Though the Angel Tree program is an annual function, Fill-the-Truck is a new solution for tags that are unaccounted for.
King said sometimes tags are taken from the angel trees and are lost or never returned with a gift.
There are other instances as well.
“Not every angel tree tag is shopped for, so we will take any unpicked tag, and to the best of our ability, try to match the child with a toy,” said King.
“We will also supplement. For instance, if one child in a family receives all three gifts but the other two children only have one thing each, then we use these gifts to supplement,” he added.
The event generated a little over 100 toys. “The Fill-the-Truck event wasn’t quite as successful as we would have hoped, but we got a little over 100 gifts and we like to think of it as 100 more than we had initially,” said Capt. Monica King.
The Salvation Army has also been running a food drive to supplement the food boxes already planned for Christmas distribution and King said the organization received a substantial amount of food from the Boy Scouts of America’s “Scouting for Food” food drive a few weeks ago.
With the holidays just around the corner, the organization has been extremely busy and is looking for anyone who would be willing to help spread some Christmas cheer.
“If anyone would like to volunteer, we are always looking for people to help with our red kettle event,” King said. “That’s the bell ringing you see outside of local stores, and we also need people to help sort and wrap presents.”
Anyone who is interested in volunteering can call the Salvation Army office at 775-751-617