Salvation Army holiday kickoff

Volunteer Charmen Catlin hangs cards on the Angel Tree at the Post Oak Mall food court on Nov. 16 during the kickoff celebration for The Salvation Army's Angel Tree program and Red Kettle campaign.

The commanding officer of the Salvation Army of Bryan-College Station said Friday that more donations for the organization’s Angel Tree program are needed, and Red Kettle donations are about $25,000 behind compared to this time a year ago.

The deadline for area residents to donate gifts for children and families through the Angel Tree Christmas Assistance Program is 8 p.m. today

Salvation Army Capt. Paul Ryerson said Friday afternoon that the Angel Tree program provides families who are in need donations of Christmas gifts from members of the community.

“Families who want to adopt an angel can take an angel’s [information] off the tree [at the Post Oak Mall’s food court], go and purchase Christmas toys or clothes for the child, bring it back, and then we at the Salvation Army will then get those items to that specific child,” Ryerson said.

Ryerson said 2,168 children are on their donation tree this year. Two days ago, he said, about 500 children still needed gifts; that number was expected to drop below 300 by Friday night.

In addition to the main location at the Post Oak Mall, donations can be dropped off at the Chick-Fil-A in Bryan and the Wal-Mart on Briarcrest Drive in Bryan, he said.

In total, 876 families are being assisted this year, up from 856 a year ago, Ryerson said.

The annual Red Kettle campaign kicked off Nov. 15 and runs through Christmas Eve, Ryerson said.

“On our Red Kettle campaign, we’re still about $25,000 behind where we should be on fundraising at this point. That’s a direct result of Thanksgiving falling a week later this year, so we lost time ringing the bell at various stores around town,” Ryerson said. “We are looking for volunteer bell ringers and for community members to find those red kettles and give to help the Salvation Army continue to serve throughout the next year.”

The 2018 Red Kettle Campaign raised $208,447. Volunteer groups and individuals spent 1,660 hours during the bell-ringing season outside a number of Brazos County locations.

Ryerson said this is the 40th anniversary of the Salvation Army Angel Tree program. Along with the familiar red kettles, the Angel Tree program is one of The Salvation Army’s highest-profile Christmas efforts.

For more information or to sign up to be a bell ringer, visit

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