Local Salvation Army Tweaks Christmas Charity Giveaway

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The Salvation Army's iconic Angel Trees are being tweaked this holiday season.

The Huntington office of the Salvation Army's new policy is it's designed for children 10 and younger.

"Historically, the angel tree has been difficult for children who are older," says Major Matt Riley with the Salvation Army. "Older children tend to ask for electronics or outlandish gifts that are hard to purchase. Families, already struggling in an economy that is difficult, feel bad they can't buy that kind of gift for a 12-year old or 11-year old; they ultimately don't take a tag to adopt that child, and they get left on the tree."

Riley is hoping to start a relationship with the Marines and their Toys For Tots Program, which accepts names for kids up to 14 years of age.

"Ultimately, I think it would be terrific if they handled the older children and let us handle those youngsters who are 10 and younger," Riley said.

This year, the Salvation Army's office in Huntington is helping more than 935 children during the holiday season.

Angel Trees are put up at the Huntington Mall, Walmart stores in Barboursville and along U.S. 60 in East Huntington, as well as at Big Lots along 14th Street West in Huntington and at the Kmart along U.S. 60 in the Barboursville area.

The Salvation Army's Red Kettle Program started Friday, Nov. 16. Only about one-third of the kettles are up and running. The remainder will be commissioned on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.

That kettle drive is the Salvation Army's primary fundraiser for its programs throughout the year.

This year's Community Thanksgiving Dinner will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thanksgiving Day, which is Thursday, Nov. 22.

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