The Salvation Army has sponsored the Angel Tree Program annually to spread a little Christmas cheer to underprivileged children throughout the Wiregrass.
Wiregrass Commons Mall is the most popular place to pick out an angel to shop for. Each angel has the name, age and size of the child, along with one gift that the child specifically asked for.
You can always buy more than one gift or choose more than one angel, but the Salvation Army reminds people to set realistic goals to help.
About 1,000 families and 2,500 kids were helped through this program last year.
This year, the Salvation Army expects the number to increase dramatically because of the tornado that swept through Abbeville last month. The recent disaster has the Salvation Army relying heavily on the community's support.
Unfortunately, not everybody who takes an angel brings back a gift and there are always last minute kids who didn't get their names on the tree.
The Salvation Army is encouraging people to continue bringing in unwrapped new gifts to the Salvation Army or one of the Angel Tree participating locations.
Here is a list of the locations:
1001-7 South Bell Street
Dothan, AL 36302
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The Salvation Army Mission Statement
The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
The History of the Salvation Army in the South
The Salvation Army in the United States is divided into four territories. The administrative center of the Southern Territory is in Atlanta, Georgia. The USA Southern Territory comprises 15 southern states and is divided into nine divisions.
- From its simple beginnings in 1865 in the poverty-stricken East End of London, England, The Salvation Army grew rapidly during the 1860s and 1870s.
- By the end of 1878, The Salvation Army in England had more than 75 corps (worship and service centers) with 120 officers (clergy).
- In October of that year Salvationists (Salvation Army members) Amos and Annie Shirley immigrated to the United States and began holding evangelistic meetings in Philadelphia.
- Their daughter Lieutenant Eliza Shirley soon followed them. Repeatedly throughout 1879 the Shirleys asked General William Booth, The Salvation Army's Founder, to send officers to establish The Salvation Army in America.
- In Feb. 1880, George Scott Railton, the first officer to hold the rank of commissioner, led a group of seven women to expand The Salvation Army in Philadelphia and extend it to New York City and beyond.
- The first work in America among the military too place in the south during the Spanish-American War.
- In April 1927, the National Commander Evangeline Booth came to Atlanta to proclaim the opening of the Southern Territory.
- The Southern Territory is now experiencing growth in new areas such as ethnic ministries with Hispanic and Asian corps.
Source: http://www.salvationarmysouth.org/about.htm (The Salvation Army Web site) contributed to this report.