Friday, December 11, 2009

Share The Joy of Christmas With A Child

 Volunteers are again manning a Christmas “Sharing Tree” at Inland Center Mall. Purchasing a gift for one of the children “tagged” on this tree is one of several ways to help The Salvation Army bring joy to needy children this holiday season.

(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) Local Salvation Army Corps and several businesses have joined forces to make this holiday season one the needy children of the Inland Empire will never forget.

In San Bernardino, this program is known as “Sharing Trees.” However, many other corps of The Salvation Army refer to the program as “Angel Giving Trees.”

In San Bernardino County, these programs revolve around actual Christmas trees. These trees were set up in local malls the day after Thanksgiving.

Attached to branches of the tree are cards with names of children whose families simply cannot afford to buy gifts, as much as they would love to. Shoppers who want to take part by helping disadvantaged children simply pluck a tag off the Giving Tree, read the child’s name and wish list, then head for the appropriate store for a little sharing of their own.

“Why not start a tradition with your family and select a gift for a needy child together,” Capt. Ball said.

San Bernardino Corps put its Sharing Tree in the Inland Center Mall (500 Inland Center Drive, San Bernardino) in front of the old Gottschalks location.

The Ontario Corps put trees in Ontario Mills Mall (1 Mills Circle, Ontario) in front of JC Penney’s and Montclair Plaza (5060 E. Montclair Plaza Lane, Montclair) inside the Macy’s store. The Redlands Corps put a tree at Wal-Mart (2050 W. Redlands Blvd., Redlands).

However, not all corps have actual trees. The Riverside Corps asks shoppers to call (951) 784-4490, ext. 114 to obtain the name of and requests of more than 2,000 children on its “Angel” list.

Shoppers helping the Riverside children should take their gifts to a warehouse the Riverside Corps has established at 3695 First Street, Riverside.

For the first time this year, JC Penney’s shoppers can also shop online for any Salvation Army Corps’ needy children. The website allows online shoppers to select children in their local area, order a gift for them from Penney’s online catalog, and let Penney’s handle shipping it to the appropriate Salvation Army Corps.

The Salvation Army also is looking for other businesses in both San Bernardino and Riverside counties, who would like to have a tree at their place of business for employees and/or customers.

“This is a great way for business owners and managers to help the community this Christmas,” Capt. Ball said.

“Soccer balls, dolls and clothes are just a few items on each child’s wish list,” Capt. Ball said. “Shoppers who participate in the program are encouraged to shop for more than what is needed on the list.”

Salvation Army volunteers make sure the presents are earmarked for the specific child.

To help, make a donation, or for more information please call The Salvation Army at (888) 725-2769.

About the Salvations Army San Bernardino Corps
The Salvation Army may be able to provide emergency services including food; lodging for homeless or displaced families; clothing and furniture; assistance with rent or mortgage and transportation when funds are available. The Salvation Army Team Radio Network assists rescue workers and evacuees in such disasters as fires.

The Salvation Army is an evangelical part of the Universal Christian church and also offers evangelical programs for boys, girls and adults. One of the largest charitable and international service organizations in the world, The Salvation Army has been in existence since 1865 and in San Bernardino since 1887, supporting those in need without discrimination. Donations may always be made online at or by calling 1-(800)-SAL-ARMY.