Angels Among Us
"We have a wonderful community with some huge hearts - a very loving and giving community,” shared Cindy McCreery, a Salvation Army volunteer in Lawrence County, Indiana. She was recalling last year's amazing response to the annual Salvation Army Angel Tree ministry in her community, which helps struggling families with Christmas gifts for their children. “Typically, we serve about 80 children with the Angel Trees,” added Jim, Cindy's husband and a fellow volunteer. "Last year we served more than 300.”
Through The Salvation Army's Service Extension unit operating out of Bedford, Indiana, the McCreerys are helping more people than ever before. They coordinate utility and rental assistance while partnering with other agencies to fill gaps for local residents.
“A lot of people have been sympathetic to what has been going on,” explained Cindy. “We have been able to continue to help more people because of that. For Angel Tree, we were able to continue adding more names almost every day because people were so eager to help.”
The generosity didn't stop with the new year, and Cindy and Jim already have supporters reaching out, ready to help this Christmas season. They are hoping to see a repeat of last year, when a number of people who bought Angel Tree gifts had been Angels themselves as children. As more of these special donors stepped forward, Cindy and Jim knew they were witnessing a miracle in their small community.
“These families brought tears to my eyes,” Cindy recalled. “When they came in they just kept thanking us for allowing them to provide these gifts. They were so thrilled they could participate because once they were an Angel on the tree."
One individual, Joey, shared with Cindy that he and his two brothers were on the list to receive Christmas help every year while they were in school. His mother did her best, but they always needed help around the holidays. Now, as an adult, Joey was so grateful that he was able to purchase gifts for other children on the Angel Tree.
“I cried when I found out that he had bought for not one, but three children,” said Cindy. “I am just so proud of him. He has overcome some really difficult circumstances.”
The McCreerys are already preparing for the upcoming Christmas season. "We have volunteers that are excited to be back out ringing bells for the Red Kettle and we anticipate having another huge year with Angel Tree." After a challenging year for their community, the couple knows that there are still many hurdles ahead for local families in need.
When you support The Salvation Army, you support communities across Indiana and help to provide hope for struggling Hoosier families when they need it the most.