BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) – Even though Christmas is months away, The Salvation Army wants to make sure families don’t have to decide between paying bills and buying gifts for their children. So they are taking steps to make the holidays a little brighter.
The Salvation Army hosts an Angel Tree program every year to make sure kids across the state have a special Christmas. And with so many other families in need of a helping hand, they’re extending the deadline to apply.
The original deadline to apply for the program was Monday October 11, but Morgan Dailey of the Salvation Army of the Grand Baton Rouge said the application this year was so high that they decided to extend the deadline to Friday the 15th. October to open the possibility for 1,500 other children.
“We still have so many people from southern parishes in hotels and our evacuees in Ida and Baton Rouge, and with the long-lasting COVID closures and COVID holidays, there is a huge need this year as there is had them last year, ”Dailey said.
Child poverty in Louisiana is high, reaching 26.8%, ranking second in the country, according to the Louisiana Budget Project. Louisiana Budget Project public affairs director Davante Lewis said child poverty was a problem long before the pandemic.
“Poverty is we’ve had a pandemic for a long time and that was the pandemic of poverty,” Lewis said.
And the association works to reduce poverty in the state. They said that one way it is possible is to pay people what they are worth.
“The way to recover is to have quality, well-paying jobs and that includes making sure the floor is up and every Louisianan has a basic income on which they can survive and that includes increasing the cost. minimum wage, ”Lewis said.
The Salvation Army wants to spread the extra joy this year and will add 15,000 more children to the Angel Tree program. Parents can register their child for adoption by the program, and then people donate toys and clothes based on the lists provided. Parents then collect the presents on the weekend before Christmas.
“No one wants to have to say to their children, ‘no, you can’t have something’, especially not at Christmas or having to explain why there is nothing under the Christmas tree. So it helped a lot of people and I think it warmed people’s hearts, ”Dailey said.
The most important needs throughout the season are items for older children, ages 10 to 12, and baby items. If you can’t go out to buy items, Dailey said cash donations are also helpful.
“We have enormous purchasing power as the Salvation Army, so with monetary donations we are able to take that money and sometimes quadruple what you can buy in a big box store,” he said. said Dailey.
For more information on the Angel Tree program, visit the Salvation Army website here.