The deadline for the Salvation Army's annual collection of toys and clothing is nigh, with today the final day to bring in Angel Tree contributions before Friday's distribution. The long-standing program matches donors with children from families that are unable to provide gifts and clothing themselves during the holidays.
"We have a unique situation this year," said Captain Teri Nauta, with Minot's Salvation Army. In addition to having an unusually large number of children participating in this year's program, "we have 60 missing cards."
For the past month, these informational cards have dangled from Christmas trees posted at participating locations, imploring passersby to "Be an angel." People might then take a card, each with a code number and gender identifier, clothing sizes, and gift ideas corresponding to one of the 250 participating children. That information is then used to pick out appropriate gifts, depositing these with the card at the nearby pick-up areas.
Nauta explained that it is common that some cards might be lost or forgotten, or the odd article unaccounted for. When arranging gift parcels for distribution, volunteers such as herself make up for these shortfalls with filler items generally provided by anonymous donors.
"It varies every year how much we get," she said. Unclaimed cards are similarly assembled with suitable donations and purchases made by the Salvation Army.
The problem with having so many missing cards so near to the deadline is that the volunteers are not sure whether the contributions have been bought and will come in at the last minute, or if those orders were simply lost, ignored, or forgotten.
With the final arrangements happening today for Friday's distribution at the Armory, in the lower level of Minot Municipal Auditorium, Nauta said that last-minute deposits would be most conveniently brought to the Salvation Army building at 315 Western Ave. Open today from 9 a.m. to noon, 1 to 4 p.m., volunteers should still be there working into the evening hours.
Anyone with questions about the program can call 838-8925.