Volunteer Cherishes Angel Tree Program
For years, Jennifer Cotton has volunteered with The Salvation Army of Bryan/College Station in many capacities, but Angel Tree has a special place in her heart.
"Volunteering for Angel Tree is one of my favorite activities," said Cotton. "My favorite part is assuring each child has gifts to open on Christmas and filling in gifts for those who did not get as many as others. I try to make it as fair as I can so each child can have the best Christmas possible."
The Angel Tree program can be a learning experience for volunteers and puts into perspective what some families go through during the Christmas season. The average family signs up for two or three children, but The Salvation Army has collected presents for families of eight or more. "Sometimes, families are looking after relatives' children as well as their own," Cotton said.
"Each family's story is unique. You learn you can't be judgmental — you don't know the back stories of the applicants." This year, The Salvation Army delivered Christmas gifts to 2,563 children representing 1,041 families in Brazos County.
"It's heartwarming to know you are making a child's Christmas and giving them hope," said Cotton. "It's really great to see such a generous outpouring from our community toward bettering the lives of children. This community cares about setting children up for success."
Volunteers are crucial to the success of many year-round Salvation Army programs, not just at Christmas. As for Cotton, she plans to continue volunteering for many years to come. Currently serving as secretary for The Salvation Army's Women's Auxiliary, she also serves on the Emergency Disaster Services team and is a committed volunteer for the Clothing Closet.
About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for more than 130 years in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a broad array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. 82 cents of every dollar The Salvation Army spends is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org.