Shopping for the lost angels

Toys for the Lost Angel program. Photo courtesy of 3TV.

I don’t enjoy shopping. But I never felt more like going shopping than one night last December, when I realized how many children who were part of the Arizona’s Family Christmas Angel Program were going to end up with items that were not even close to what they’d requested on their wish lists.

I hadn’t gone shopping for an Angel that year. In fact, I hadn’t done it in a lot of years. Not since my sons were still home to do it with me. They are 26 and 24, so that’s obviously been awhile.

But last year, I found myself in The Salvation Army warehouse on East Washington in Phoenix. My husband does some legal work for 3TV, and he is invited each year to help sort through toys, bags, labels and shelves so that everything is ready when grateful parents, all living below the poverty level, drive up to the warehouse to pick up the only Christmas gifts their children will receive.

Our task that evening was to do the best we could to fulfill the wishes of the Lost Angels — children whose wish lists were taken by supposed do-gooders who apparently found better things to do with their time and never came back with the requested list of toys.

Thankfully, there are patrons of the the lost angels who donate mounds of toys and gifts, never knowing which child will get them or what will become of their generosity. Last year, The Salvation Army received hundreds of basketballs, board games and sets of jewelry and lotion that went to children who at least got something for Christmas.

The deadline for making Lost Angel donations is this Friday, Dec. 9. If you want to help, here are your options:

Bring a new, unwrapped toy or monetary donation to Today’s Patio. (If you do, you’ll receive an additional 10 percent off your entire purchase.)

Donate new toys at any Phoenix Fire station.

Join 3TV’s Yetta Gibson and Royal Norman from 7am to 6:30pm Friday at Chandler Fashion Center, near Kona Grill.

Since its inception in 1986, the Christmas Angel program has donated more than one million toys to 500,000 underprivileged children. And each year, 3TV and The Salvation Army make a commitment to ensure that every child represented by a Christmas Angel tag will have a gift. It may not be what they asked for, but it will be something.

So I plan to go shopping. For a Christmas Angel, and for a Lost Angel, too.

Learn more about the Christmas Angel program, which continues through Dec. 23, in the RAK Community blog.

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