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Thousands of Mississippi Families Sign Up For ‘Angel Tree’

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 07 Dec 2011 04:45pm | comments
Lakeia Harris shows off her angel tree purchase.

Thousands of Mississippi families are asking for help getting Christmas presents under the tree. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that years of a down economy have caused many to need help for the first time.

More than 30-thousand Mississippi children and several thousand elderly adults have signed up for the Salvation Army's yearly Angel Tree drive.

Each paper angel has a list of gifts that the child or adult wants. Shoppers purchase the gifts and the Salvation Army than distributes them.

Mark Jones with the Salvation Army says the recession has swollen the rolls of people looking for help.

“Not only financially has it become tough on many, many more people. But I think emotionally and spiritually that people are needing to see the light at the end of that tunnel. Just a little bit of extra assistance at Christmas. When you see that gift under the tree, it gives you the sense that all is well," Jones said.

The deadline for the angel tree is this weekend and several thousand angels remain, but Jones is confident that all the angels will be adopted.

At a Wal-Mart in Richland, Brandi Lyke distributes angels to people entering the store.

She says she understand how difficult is for people to ask for help because she used to be an angel tree recipient.

"I have been the mom that has cried. I have been the mom that has wondered, night after night, how she was going to take care of her children. It was very important. Just a couple little gifts for a child to open on Christmas morning, it means the world to children," Lyke said.

One of the shoppers who took an angel is 33-year old Lakeia Harris.

"They need a DS game, an EZ bake oven, or a barbie," Harris reads the angel list.

Harris says she is able to provide gifts for her three sons but wants help other Mississippi families.

"It is the time of year to fulfill wishes and being a blessing to someone that is unfortunate and doesn't have," Harris said.

In addition to the paper angels, Mississippians who want to contribute can go on-line through the Salvation Army website, adopt an angel, and purchase the gifts through a participating retailer.



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