The Salvation Army is providing toys, clothing and other items to 900 families with 2,200 children. Captain Candi Marquez said that is up from 1,700 children served in 2011.
“Every year is different because of the economy,” Marquez said. “It’s amazing that God gives us the opportunity to serve others through the Salvation Army.”
The Salvation Army distributed the gifts to families Thursday and Friday at its building on Waterman Street in Marietta. Angels, each with gifts requested by an underprivileged family, are sent out to sites like Cumberland and Town Center malls and placed on Christmas trees in October. Gifts are due back with the Salvation Army in the first week of December.
Unfortunately, Marquez said that more than 300 of the children did not get “adopted” this year. That meant the Salvation Army had to raise cash donations and purchase gifts for the children.
After more than $6,000 was raised, she said they were able to meet the needs of all the families.
“If it wasn’t for (the donations), it would have been an extremely lean Christmas in many respects,” Marquez said. “It’s my responsibility to make sure every child registered with us goes home with something.”
The Salvation Army entered Cobb County in 1964 and has been participating in the Angel Tree program since 1985.
“Basically the families come to us,” Marquez said. “These are really needy families who can’t really afford Christmas for their children.”
Marquez said that nearly 200 volunteers help out with the Salvation Army’s Christmas program. On Thursday, many were taking gift bags from the agency’s gymnasium, where they were lined up on tables filling the entire room, to parents who had signed up for them.
Several companies get involved and have many of their employees help out, Marquez said.
“People may not search out these opportunities, but when you give them the opportunity they come out of the woodwork,” said John Janke with Equifax.
The company brings in a number of volunteers, who also bring along family members, Janke said.
“We just come in, and because we’ve been doing it for so many years, we just take over,” he said.
Another company that assists is Elavon, a division of US Bank.
“We have a culture of giving to charity throughout our organization,” said Elavon vice President Gerry Tilson of Vinings. “This is one of many things we do each year to make the community better.”