There are hundreds of children in Jessamine County that need an “Angel” this holiday season, children who otherwise may not enjoy a wholesome meal or even receive a single gift on Christmas morning.
“Last year there were 660 children in Jessamine that were a part of the Angel Tree program,” Salvation Army Maj. Debra Ashcraft said, “children in families that may not be able to afford a meal or to get them a gift, and many of them weren’t adopted last year. We’re still tallying how many will be eligible for ‘adoption’ this year; it may be even more.”
Fortunately for the children who were not “adopted” or donated to last year, The Salvation Army of Kentucky stepped up using funds from the Red Kettle Campaign, more than $2,000 spent in Jessamine County alone, to ensure that each of those children received something on Christmas morning, but the toll weighed heavy on the nonprofit organization.
This year, The Salvation Army is attacking the situation on three fronts and modernizing the effort to make it more convenient for people to give to these children and families in need.
The Red Kettle Campaign as well as the Angel Tree and the Angel Food efforts are all geared toward making it a happy holiday for those in need.
The Angel Tree program is a way to buy toys that will be delivered to children. The names of hundreds of children are on cards that people can “adopt.”
In Nicholasville, Angel Tree locations include Walmart at 1024 N. Main St. and The Oak Factory at 131 Marlene Drive. An Angel Tree will also be in Wilmore at Asbury Theological Seminary.
The Angel Food program includes the same children’s names at one of the Kroger grocery store locations; patrons can purchase that child’s family a $25 Kroger gift card. This allows for the family to pick out the meal that would best suit their needs in case of an allergy or just a specific holiday meal they would all enjoy.
“This is brand new to the county,” Ashcraft said.
The Salvation Army Jessamine County office will hold two Angel Tree make-up application dates for any person who would like to submit a child for the program on Nov. 29 and Dec. 6.
Applicants should have a photo ID, proof of birth dates for children in the household, proof of monthly income, proof of rent and utilities and choice toys and clothing sizes for children. The two Angel programs are paired up with the annual kettle campaign, except this year there will be one major change to the holiday mainstay — QR codes on each of the red buckets.
“Nobody carries cash on them anymore,” Ashcraft said. “That’s why we’ve done something new this year with the kettle campaign.”
The public will be able to make a credit-card donation by accessing the “Online Kettle” through the QR code. Bells on the kettles ring through Dec. 24, and the funds raised support year-round programs such as the emergency shelter for families and women, early learning center and Boys and Girls Club for children, food and clothing centers, music school for youth and emergency disaster services.
Many have volunteered to ring the bell this year, but hundreds are still needed to help, Ashcraft said. Individuals and groups wanting to help can contact Townsend Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org or 859-252-7706 ext. 125.
“Having enough volunteers is essential to the kettle campaign’s success,” Ashcraft said. “We are grateful to those who sacrifice their time to stand in the cold so that a homeless child will have a warm place to sleep and families will have food to put on their table.
The following businesses will have the red kettle this year: Big Lots, Fayette Mall, Hobby Lobby, Lexington Green, Liquor Barn, Kroger stores, Rupp Arena, Sam’s Club, Walgreens and Walmart.
Columbia Gas of Kentucky and Whitaker Bank Corporation of Kentucky have stepped up to help with sponsorship contributions, Ashcraft said.