Hi! I’m Pat Reimann, Christmas Assistance Coordinator for The Salvation Army DFW Metro Command. This is the first of several blogs I’ll be posting throughout the season. Is there anything you’ve always wanted to know about our Christmas program? Post a comment, and I’ll try to include it in future posts.
Just a few weeks ago we were still “enjoying” summer’s heat, and sticky humidity - challenging the notion of the “official” start of fall. Even so, The Salvation Army DFW Christmas Assistance Program jumped ahead into the deep end of everybody’s favorite winter holiday. At both the Dallas and Ft. Worth Christmas Centers, over 50 Salvation Army officers, staff and volunteers came together for training sessions on how to register an expected 18,000 families for Christmas assistance through the Angel Tree program and toy drives.
Trainees learned how to assess each individual applicant’s eligibility. Many also attended computer lab sessions to learn how to enter data so that donors would have the best and most accurate possible information on each child’s or senior’s sizes, needs, and wishes on each Angel Tree tag. Everybody received application forms, information sheets, and a DVD about Salvation Army programs that can be shown in their waiting areas. All of this training and preparation began to pay off on Monday, September 27; when the first families arrived at one of 15 Salvation Army centers to apply for Christmas assistance. This family registration effort will wrap up on November 5th.
Meanwhile, in the background, we have already been organizing and planning with the tens of thousands of generous donors who will be buying gifts for nearly 60,000 children and special care adults. We are finalizing agreements with ten local malls who will allow their shoppers to adopt Angels at one of our trees. Numerous companies, churches, schools and other organizations have already committed to adopting Angels, and we hope to enlist many, many more. Early bird volunteers are signing up to do the “heavy lifting” of receiving, sorting, and organizing gift bags; and some have even signed up for “special duty” as bell ringers in order to have an impact far beyond the Christmas season.
This behind the scenes blogger is ready to share with you all kinds of previously unknown information:
• How does a family qualify for Christmas Assistance (and how would we know if a family is already getting help from another charity)?
• How does a family get their gifts – are they delivered to the family, and who does that?
• What is expected from groups or individuals who adopt Angels, what does it cost to adopt an Angel?
• What can you do to help the effort? (and what kind of help has the biggest impact?)
• Do you have any other questions? – Please leave a comment, and we’ll try to include an answer in future blog posts.
Check in on this blog regularly for new updates, new information, and the “secrets” behind The Salvation Army’s DFW Christmas Assistance program.