BANGOR, Maine — Registration for the Salvation Army’s annual Angel Tree program, which helps children from birth through age 17, as well as senior citizens and local families during the holidays, is beginning early this year on Thursday, Oct. 20.
Captain Tim Clark, corps officer of the Salvation Army in Bangor, said the event is important to the community and helps hundreds of families in need, which contributes to its success each year.
“Angel Tree is a very successful program. It helps connect those in need with those who want to help. Last year through Angel Tree over 400 families and well over 1,000 children received aid. Bangor is a community that really cares,” Clark said Wednesday.
Angel Tree is different from other aid programs because it directly links those donating goods to the families who are receiving the aid, Clark said. It also can involve the entire family, teaching children that Christmas is about more than receiving presents.
“Shopping for specific children helps to humanize the program; giving money doesn’t do that. If you just give donations, you don’t really see or know what happens with that money. Shopping for the kids makes the entire process more concrete. The program also preserves the parents’ dignity as they are the ones who actually give the gifts to their children,” Clark said.
Registration will be by appointment only from 1 to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday, Oct. 20- Nov. 21. Parents who are interested in registering their children should contact the Bangor Citadel Corps for an appointment as soon as possible at 941-2990.
Those signing up for assistance must provide proof of residency, documenting their current address with either a current TANF statement, Social Security statements, or a recent utility bill. Participants must be residents of Bangor, Brewer, Exeter, Glenburn, Hermon, Kenduskeag, Levant, Orrington or Veazie.
Parents also must provide proof of dependants and document the children who live with them with either a current TANF statement that lists children, MaineCare identification cards, birth certificates or court papers. Parents also should bring a list for each child with suggestions for one large toy, one small toy, one stocking stuffer, coat size, shoe size, pant size and shirt size.
For the second year, JCPenny is directly involved in the Angel Tree program by allowing people to purchase gifts for the participating families on all of their Web pages. According to Clark, JCPenny was responsible for approximately 5 percent of all gifts last year. This year the Salvation Army and JCPenny are expecting a 10 to 15 percent increase in the company’s donations.
Online purchases for the program will be available beginning Wednesday, Nov. 2, at jcp.com/angeltree. The Salvation Army will set up its physical location on Friday, Nov. 25, in the Bangor Mall. For information, contact the Salvation Army at 941-2990.