By Riley Manning
TUPELO – The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree and the Thompson Square Chick-fil-A’s Golden Angel Tree campaigns are in their final week, and they need last-minute help to get all their angels taken care of by Saturday.
“We’ve got about 150 wish lists that still need to be adopted from the tree in the food court of the Barnes Crossing mall,” said Susan Gilbert, social services director at the Army. “The real problem is we’ve only had gifts returned to us for about 250 lists, out of about 1,000 lists that have been adopted. That leaves a lot of lists left out there.”
Gilbert said lists not filled by Saturday’s deadline must be filled with the Army’s money that could go to other projects.
“I ask everyone out there to please, please, please turn your gifts in by the 14th,” she said. “The next week will be sorting and checking them, putting the finishing touches on the project.”
Jamie Finley, owner and operator of the Thompson Square Chick-fil-A, said for the past 14 years, their Golden Angel Tree has made sure elderly residents of area nursing homes aren’t forgotten over the Christmas holiday.
“Especially those that don’t have a family, they just want to know someone out there cares,” Finley said.
Much like the Army’s tree, the Golden Angel Tree features Christmas wish lists from Tupelo Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Traceway, Golden Living of Tupelo and Amory, and Shearer Richardson of Okolona.
Diners browse the lists, and take one to shop for. When they have purchased the gifts, they bring them back to the restaurant to place under the tree, attaching the list to their gifts.“Their needs are so basic and rarely run more than $30 to $50,” Finley said. “They ask for things like socks, pajamas, calendars, baseball caps and candy.”
Finley said 350 lists were placed on the tree, and so far only a few have been adopted.
“Of all the community events we do, this is my favorite,” Finley said. “At the end of the day, this is a ministry, an opportunity to show Christ’s love, and when we show up with their gifts, they are so appreciative.”
Both Finley and Gilbert said it is imperative to have gifts turned in by Saturday in order to complete the sorting and delivery process.