Angel Tree History
Through the Angel Tree program, donors can become personally involved because they are able to choose a specific child or senior to help. Once a child or senior has been registered as an “Angel,” The Salvation Army makes a promise that we will provide Christmas for that individual. The promise includes a variety of gifts for each child or senior. In order to accomplish this, The Salvation Army depends on the generosity of individual donors, corporations and organizations.Angel Tree was created by The Salvation Army in 1979 by Majors Charles and Shirley White when they worked with a Lynchburg, Virginia shopping mall to provide clothing and toys for children at Christmas time. The program got its name because the Whites identified the wishes of local children by writing their gift needs on Hallmark greeting cards featuring pictures of angels and placing them on a Christmas Tree at the mall. Thanks to the Whites, who were assigned by The Army to the Lynchburg area at the time, more than 700 children had a brighter Christmas that first year. Three years later, when the Whites were transferred to Nashville, Tennessee, Angel Tree was launched in Music during the 1982 Christmas season. WSM radio, which airs the Grand Ol' Opry, came on board that year as the first Angel Tree co-sponsor in the U.S. Because of the on-air promotion on WSM in Nashville, as well as national publicity on CNN and the Larry King Show, news of Angel Tree spread across the country like wild fire.
Since that time, the program has grown to include Angel Trees in throughout the Greater Birmingham area. In 2007, The Salvation Army partnered with Fox6 Gifts for Kids, a program designed to give foster children in the Birmingham metro area Christmas gifts.