The Angel Tree

During the holiday season, the iconic red kettle is synonymous with the Salvation Army. Did you know that it’s been around since the late 1800s? Captain Joseph McFee started the tradition in 1891 to help to provide a free Christmas dinner for those in need. Today these donations do much more, from providing food and shelter to struggling families throughout the year, to helping provide a Christmas dinner for “Angels” and their families. The Angel Tree program helps put new clothes and toys under the tree for one million children nationwide who usually have to go without Christmas gifts.

The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program began in 1979 when Majors Charles and Shirley White worked at a shopping mall in Lynchburg, Virginia, to provide clothing and toys to children at Christmas time. The Majors wrote down the holiday wishes of local children on the back of Hallmark greeting cards that featured pictures of angels. Then, the Majors placed the angel cards on a Christmas tree at the mall, so that shoppers could select children to help. In their first year, more than 700 children had a Christmas filled with delight.

In 2019, the Angel Tree will make the holiday season brighter for more than 2,300 children in South Carolina alone. Plus, the angel donors and volunteers will receive a special gift of knowing they helped spread the joy of the season.  


Producer/Editor:  Brandie Perron   |   Field Production:  Lynn Cornfoot & Libby Dallis