The Angel Tree program is a mission of The Salvation Army USA. The program is administered through the organization's local service centers, so sign-up procedures vary by area. To get details specific to your area, you'll need to identify your local office and follow their procedures. Being considered for this program requires meeting specific eligibility requirements and applying well in advance of the holiday season.
Applying for Salvation Army Angel Tree Assistance
Local Salvation Army service centers accept applications for the Angel Tree program each year during the fall, typically from early September through mid-October. You will need to schedule an in-person appointment at the appropriate local office in order to register your child (or children) for the program. The exact time frame and process vary, so you'll need to do a little legwork to find out exactly where, when, and how to submit your child's name for consideration.
- Find local offices - To identify your local Salvation Army office, go to SalvationArmyUSA.org. Scroll down the page to the "See What's Happening at Your Local Salvation Army" office and enter your ZIP code in the search box, then click the button beside that box.
- Review results - You will receive a list of results with the name, address, website, and contact information for the service centers closest to your area. Skim the list, focusing on "services offered" to narrow down to the best ones to contact with your inquiry. If you see one that has 'seasonal services' or similar on your list, start there. Otherwise, opt for a location that seems to offer the broadest variety of services.
- Explore service center offerings - Review the selected local organization's website to see if details are available for the current year's Angel Tree program. If not, contact the service center and ask if their location offers an Angel Tree program. If they don't, ask for information about which service centers in the area do have the program so you can reach out to them directly.
- Contact information for a few service centers is provided below for your convenience, though if you don't live in a town served by one of these areas, follow the steps above to find your local service center. This information can change at any time, as organizations restructure.
- Verify procedures - After finding a location in your area that has the program, verify how their sign-up procedures work, as well as the time frame during which applications are accepted. Most programs close early in October, or when capacity has been reached. You may be able to find this information on the local group's website, or you may need to ask via a phone call.
- Verify eligibility - Angel tree eligibility requirements vary, so it's also important to find out the qualifications, including what type of documentation you need to submit to be considered. You can see examples of specific requirements on the websites of the Chattanooga, TN and Wake County North Carolina locations. These are just examples, with exact requirements varying by location.
- Apply as required - Once you know the procedures for your area, follow them exactly. You should generally expect to schedule a required, in-person appointment, during which you will need to provide documentation demonstrating financial need and proving your identity and parental status for the child (or children).
Other Options to Consider
The Angel Tree program provides a wonderful opportunity for children in families that are experiencing economic difficulties to receive Christmas gifts, though not everyone qualifies for assistance. If the program in your area is closed by the time you reach out, or if you are not eligible, ask the person you speak with if they know of other local groups that offer similar programs so you can research them. Chances are, you will learn of some other charities offering Christmas assistance, or discover other ways to find free toys for the holidays that you can explore. Please note: LoveToKnow isn't affiliated with any Angel Tree programs and can't pass along requests.