‘tis the season for charity and giving


Stephanie Lee

The Salvation Army lists out items that can be donated at this Angel Tree, located inside Arden Fair Mall. They have three separate categories for ages 3 to 16. (Photo by Stephanie Lee)

Shelby Young and Stephanie Lee

Salvation Army, Toys For Tots among choices to help needy families for the holidays

It’s the smell of pine and winter that hits you and makes you realize that Christmas is just around the corner. And just like most Americans, you get ready to finish your shopping for gifts and decorations.

But for some families, it’s just not as easy.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2010, more than 329,000 families reported making less then $10,000 a year and 15.1 percent of American families have children under the age of 18.

That’s where charities come into the picture with places such as the Salvation Army. This year, the Arden Fair Mall teamed up with the Salvation Army to host an Angel Tree and has placed these trees around the mall where you can donate items such as jackets, electronics and toys.

The Salvation Army Angel Trees “provide a convenient way for caring employees, students and church/club members to donate Christmas gifts for needy children during the holidays,” as stated on their website. These donated items will go to benefit the Sacramento Sheriff’s Toy Project, the Children’s Choice for Hearing and Talking (CCHAT) Center and the Wind Youth Services. Other charities may require families to apply in advance for consideration to receive gifts.

One of those charities is Sacramento’s local Adopt-A-Family chapter. They state Nov. 30 as a deadline to apply on their website and list the application requirements.  In 2001, the Adopt-A-Family charity helped 412 families and more than 1200 children.  To sponsor a family, the cost is around $50 to $100 per person in the family (includes gifts and food.)  Gift drop off for this event is between Dec. 12 and Dec. 14.

Toys For Tots, which has been giving toys to children since 1991, started their campaign on Oct. 1 with plans to continue distributing toys to families throughout December. If families wish to request a toy for their child, they can also apply via the Toys For Tots website.

If you wish to help a family in other ways, local radio station V101.1 will be at the Arden Fair Mall hosting their 12 Days of Giving starting on Dec. 8 from noon to 2 p.m.

“We’ve been doing this event with Arden Fair for the last six years,” said Amy Bingham, who helped organize the event for V101.1. “It used to be centered around the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree and this is the third year as the 12 Days of Giving.” They will be supporting the CCHAT Center, Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children Sacramento, Sierra Forever Families and the Wind Youth Services.