Butler County gift-giving effort needs last-minute assistance to avoid falling short

A philanthropic organization’s local holiday gift-giving effort is short of its goal with days to go and hoping community members will help it bridge the gap.

The parents of 1,200 Butler County children registered with the Salvation Army Hamilton Corps Angel Tree Program to receive gifts, but 179 children have not been connected with a sponsor to provide the gifts to them.

Children who are recipients of Angel Tree gifts are from families who have applied for Christmas assistance through the Social Services program of The Salvation Army. While the majority are from Hamilton and Fairfield, the organization does receive applications from throughout Butler County, according to Major Persi Sanclemente of Salvation Army Hamilton Corps.

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The effort asks area residents to consider sponsoring a child with gifts — a new coat, a pair of shoes and a modest toy — or making a donation to the Angel Tree Program so it may purchase the gifts on the child’s behalf.

“Parents are counting on these gifts in order to make ends meet in their home, and not use the limited resources they have for buying a new pair of shoes or a new coat,” she said. “The parent is really counting on it to help them financially and, of course, the children are the beneficiary. They’ll be assured a good gift.”

The price range is $25 to $35 for the toy, something Sanclemente said would be considered “a significant gift” for a child versus a cut-rate item a parent might be able to afford when financial times get tough.

Sponsors typically spend under $100 for all three items and all three items are equally important to the family.

“Toys aren’t frivolous for a child,” Sanclemente said. “They help develop many skills and can have lifelong impact on a child’s life.”

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Donations come from businesses in the community, service clubs and individuals wanting to ensure children have a good holiday.

The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree effort got its start in 1979. Trees are on-site in shopping malls, corporations, churches and organizations. Salvation Army Angel Tree volunteers devote millions of hours of their time each year to serve millions of children each year.

The Salvation Army Hamilton Corps’ tradition of gift-giving to area children started 100 years ago, Sanclemente said.

Last year, the Salvation Army Hamilton Corps provided dolls, toys, coats and shoes to 1,000 children.

It also serves local children and families year-round meeting basic needs and running children’s programs like Summer Day Camp, the Basketball League and support group activities for teens and adults, she said.

To donate to the Angel Tree effort, call 513-863-1445 or email kara.bray@use.salvationarmy.org. To donate in person, visit 235 Ludlow Street in Hamilton. Gifts are needed by Monday.

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