The Salvation Army of Bryan-College Station is gearing up for the holidays with the launch of two major donation drives.
The organization's Red Kettle Campaign provides funding for programs and services throughout the year, and the Angel Tree program provides assistance to families in need during the holiday season. Families participating in the program receive food, clothes, gifts or other items necessary to experience a fulfilling Christmas season.
Richard Reynolds, who serves as Corps Assistant for the Salvation Army of Bryan-College Station, said 1,100 families are enrolled in this year's program, a increase of 100 families from last year. The program aims to provide gifts and clothes to 2,500 children, he said.
“The Angel Tree Program is simply to provide kids a Christmas whose parents don’t necessarily have the means to provide [gifts] themselves. Being that is in a COVID environment, there are still children that are in suffering and in need," Reynolds said. "Every adult that I have encountered that has been a part of the program has been truly thankful for it.”
Area residents are encouraged to visit one of the four angel trees — at the Post Oak Mall and the three Blue Baker restaurant locations in Bryan and College Station — and "adopt" an angel by taking a tag from the tree with a child's wish list.
Each tag is marked with what the child would like for Christmas, but any type of gift donation is acceptable. Gifts will be accepted until Dec. 13 and can be dropped off at the tree in the food court in the Post Oak Mall. Reynolds said the gifts should be unwrapped to give the families the opportunity to wrap them for their children.
"If you have the means to help someone, I would ask that you help out ... because you never know, it could be your neighbor or family member who is in need," Reynolds said.
Participants who donate gifts in the Angel Tree program will be entered for the chance to win a $350 gift card to Aggieland Outfitters. If they adopt more than one angel, their names will be entered twice in the drawing.
The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign kicked off Nov. 6, and kettles are accepting monetary donations at the College Station Hobby Lobby and the Post Oak Mall.
Kettles will be added at the Bryan and College Station Walmart stores on Saturday, and will be available Monday through Saturday until Christmas Eve.
“The Red Kettle Campaign is one of the biggest fundraisers that provide year-round assistance to our mission,” Reynolds said.
The Salvation Army's 15th annual bell-ringing contest between the Bryan and College Station mayors is set for Dec. 4. Bryan Mayor Andrew Nelson will be stationed outside the Bryan Walmart on Briarcrest Drive, and College Station Mayor Karl Mooney will be at the Walmart on Brothers Boulevard. The two will be competing to raise the most money from noon to 1 p.m.
Volunteers are still needed to ring bells and to help with the Angel Tree program, he said. Anyone interested in helping ring bells can sign up at registertoring.com. Volunteers can ring the bells for anywhere from an hour to a full day, Reynolds said.
Anyone interested in helping with the Angel Tree program can visit bcsalvationarmy.galaxydigital.com.
For more information about getting involved with either program, email Reynolds at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 361-0618.