For more information about registering for Christmas assistance at the Salvation Army, go to www.csarmy.org.
No child will be without Christmas gifts this year if the Salvation Army has anything to say about it.
The nonprofit is launching its annual holiday Angel Tree program, with registration starting Tuesday.
Those who need assistance may register Tuesday through Thursday this week, Oct. 29-Nov. 2 and Nov. 5-7 for the Chattanooga area and Cleveland, Tenn. The Angel Tree provides clothing, toys and other crucial items to qualified participants.
"If folks feel like they're in need, register now. Don't hold out thinking things will get better," said Kimberly George, Salvation Army's director of marketing and development.
The Salvation Army served more than 4,813 children and senior citizens in 2011. The nonprofit targets families at or below the poverty line with children 12 or younger and seniors 60 and older.
Those who register for Angel Tree must have a valid photo identification for all adults in the household, proof of residence such as a utility bill from September or October and proof of eligibility such as a food stamp award letter, Medicaid letter or lease documents from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
People may start adopting the children and seniors on Nov. 3 when Salvation Army Angel Trees will be available at Hamilton Place and Northgate Mall in Chattanooga and at Bradley Square Mall in Cleveland. Businesses also may contact the Salvation Army if they're interested in putting up their own Angel Trees.
Seventy-four-year-old Chattanooga resident Flo Samuels said she had a happier Christmas during her childhood in New York because of people who gave to the Salvation Army.
She grew up in a very cold area near the Hudson River, but her family couldn't afford winter jackets. She walked to the Salvation Army every year at Christmas to get the gift bags workers had prepared. The bags had food, games and a most-treasured hat, gloves and jacket, she said.
"We didn't have much, but as kids you still think about gifts at Christmas," Samuels said.
Samuels, who has been a Salvation Army auxiliary board member and bell ringer, said she is grateful for all the agency has done for her.
Families in need of Christmas gifts also may call United Way's 211, where they can be connected with one of 10 to 15 organizations that provide gifts for children, said United Way's Information and Referral Resource Manager Rene Eldridge.
Families may call the United Way up to Dec. 14.
The fire and police department's Forgotten Child Fund, the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program and the Northside Neighborhood House also provide toys for youths.
Contact staff writer Yolanda Putman at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 423-757-6431.