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Salvation Army teams up with JROTC for Angel Tree adoption

As the holidays approach, The Salvation Army of Bainbridge is rapidly preparing for their annual Angel Tree Program, also known as Toys for Tots.

The holiday season will kick off with the annual red kettle campaign on November 14.

The day will begin at 8 a.m., where a local 5K race has been organized by the Bainbridge JROTC.

The race will begin at the Earle May Boat Basin and the entry fee is $15 or a $10 unwrapped toy. All the proceeds made from the race will benefit the Toys for Tots program.

“This is the first time we’ve ever had a race to kick things off,” Director Mereann McDonald said. “JROTC came up with the idea, so we can purchase gifts for our angels.”

The angel tree has been a longtime tradition of the Salvation Army and allows individuals or businesses to pick a child, who is less fortunate to provide Christmas for.

McDonald estimates that The Salvation Army will have 175-200 kids to provide for this year, and it takes a community to make it happen.

Parents were able to begin the Angel Tree application last week. Salvation Army worked to make the application contactless, due to COVID-19. The application allows for parents to submit all documents for children ages 12 and under, along with their wishlist.

McDonald said they plan to have all the applications in by the end of this week and notify the families by the Monday before Thanksgiving if they have been selected.

Once notified, the children will then be placed on the Angel Tree, where they can be chosen by individuals or businesses.
The Bean & Berry Café will have a tree at their restaurant with approximately 20 children on it, and there will be an additional tree located at The Salvation Army office.

McDonald said the most any business or individual can adopt is four children, because she doesn’t want the need to overwhelm anyone.

The Salvation Army is thankful to anyone who can help these angels. They know not every gift on the child’s wish list can be purchased, which is why they have several toy drives and toys in storage to help make Christmas equal for every angel.

For those who cannot adopt an angel, McDonald said The Salvation Army also has a registry at Walmart of gifts they know children want. People can just purchase one item and McDonald will make sure it gets to the child.

“This is a huge undertaking,” McDonald said. “It takes hands all over, but we are thrilled the community has stepped up to help us.”

One of the many surprises McDonald has already received in preparation for the holidays was a 500-pound food donation from the JROTC. This donation will be delivered to the food pantry and allow those less fortunate to have a Thanksgiving meal.

McDonald encourages anyone who may have questions about helping with the red kettle campaign or the Angel Tree to reach out to her at 229-243-7250.