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Salvation Army Angel Trees, ever looked at the wish lists?

Yesterday, my 14 year old daughter and I chose our angels from the Salvation Army's Angel tree, like we do every year. And, like every year, we were a bit taken aback at the list of wants on the kid's lists. Almost every kid's list went something like this: bicycle, MP3 player, PS3, Xbox and games, Barbie doll house, etc. Then there is a category for needs, and it is usually better, clothes , jacket, but frequently will specify Hanna Montana clothes or a brand. I don't mind that so much as the toys. I never even spent that kind of money on my own kid! It always makes me wonder how needy these people really are if their kids are asking for this kind of stuff. They must already have everything else. Can someone please explain it to me, cause it kinda takes the giving spirit away when the kids seem so greedy. I love to help out, but not if I'm helping out someone who is better off than I am!

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Asked by calico1954 at 3:11 PM on Nov. 28, 2009 in Holidays

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Answers (58)
  • I can't explain how the Salvation Army works or if people receive their high dollar wishes. I wanted to say I had a low paying office job for about 5 years and had to quit when I moved out of state. I went home before Christmas and dropped in on the office. They were complaining to me how some manager volunteered them to provide gifts for a needy family. They weren't upset they had to buy gifts but that the family was making out so much better than any of them. They were telling me I quit at the right time!

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:23 PM on Nov. 28, 2009

  • Ohh I know! I agree. I too was going to adopt off the angel tree but after looking at all the things that the parents put on there childrens wish list I decided I couldnt afford all those highly expensive things and decided to just help those that are in my family who have children and are very much struggling this holiday season. As you said it didnt much appear to me either that these familys were in "need" maybe just greedy.

    Answer by AProsser at 3:25 PM on Nov. 28, 2009

  • I see your point, it does seem greedy, then I try to imagine myself as a 10 y/o and if i was told to ask for what i really wanted in this day and age it would be what all the other kids have MP3 players and video games. Is it practical? No I don't think so because those items will cost more down the road to add music or buy new games. I guess you could always get a $10 mp3 player and a $10 Itunes card and give that, to me that wouldn't be a huge expense but it really depends on what your budget is for this type of thing.I only paid $10 for my own kids MP3 players and a new video game system is no where near in my budget so I would think as you do that this seems a little crazy.


    Answer by 3_ring_circus_ at 3:28 PM on Nov. 28, 2009

  • It does seem crazy, especially when you consider that those kids on the angel trees do not get donations from any other agencies. So I feel very pressured to get most of what they ask for because it will be the only things they are getting from charity. I want to continue doing this because my daughter chooses a child and shops for them and pays for it all by herself, but maybe next year we will find a different organization. Happy holidays!

    Answer by calico1954 at 3:51 PM on Nov. 28, 2009

  • Please remember these are children who are needy. Their families cannot afford to buy them gifts. Usually they can get clothing and other necessities from other organizations.Really think about it.If Santa was real and your family couldn't afford anything for you, wouldn't you dream big?If you can't afford to donate a bigger item, then give the smaller one.But these are children we are talking about.They are chasing their dreams, wishing for things they don't have, just like my kids and yours. Sometimes I can get it sometimes not.They aren't trying to be greedy.Think about it through their eyes.My daycare collected money and we went together to get a bike for a child.Exercise, outdoor play, transportation, it was a great feeling.No one is forcing anyone to donate anything.It is out of the goodness of your heart and what you can afford.Tis the season for giving, love and kindness.

    Answer by Lifes-A-Dance at 3:57 PM on Nov. 28, 2009

  • Well, that is my point, too, the season for giving and love and kindness. That is why we are doing it in the first place, why we've been doing it for years and what I'm trying to teach my daughter. I guess my real problem is with the Salvation Army and how they have it set up. They give all of the responsibility for this child's Christmas to ONE person. I just can't buy a bicycle and ipod and xbox and video games and clothes. Last year we did manage to get the bike and some toys and clothes, but asking for a bike and lots of other stuff too, the Salvation Army ought to know better. I have asked them many times about that, they never have an answer. We live in an area with lots of wealthy people, but I'm pretty sure most of the people at the mall getting the angels off of the tree are not the wealthy ones.

    Answer by calico1954 at 4:05 PM on Nov. 28, 2009

  • This might be the ONLY chance some of those kids have to get a name-brand or mainstream item. They are asking because they have nothing to loose. They are probably also told to be specific when writing their request. I am sure they want to be like everyone else in their class and have one or two things just like the other kids. I am sure that's how they see it. You are playing Santa for them, and making a dream, even a small one, come true!!


    Answer by Morgain at 4:19 PM on Nov. 28, 2009

  • I used to help distribute the gifts to the families with the Salvation Army. I assure you...these are just wishes. The families that I would see come through there were very greatful for any gifts that they received...even if it wasn't on the wish list. Many children that are more fortunate have these toys and these are the children that the less fortunate go to school with. It makes sense that these children would want more expensive toys to feel "normal" or just like the other kids at school. You don't have to get everything on the wish list. They are more than happy to just have "something." Please don't let your generous heart be discouraged....every gift is much appreciated. BTW, they are always looking for volunteer help. You could go and see for yourself what a simple gift does for a less fortunate family.

    Answer by KaceesMom at 4:26 PM on Nov. 28, 2009

  • I understand you point as well! One time we had a family "in need" at school and we offered to do Christmas for them... well, knowing we are all teachers and therefore not rich- they still had a Christmas list that would have rivaled Madonna's kids! We were all like, what do we do now? We bought something nice for each member of the family. The family was "disappointed". It was a very difficult experience for all of us. Now we do "Toys for Tots" and it works out great.

    Answer by wildboyz1994 at 4:40 PM on Nov. 28, 2009

  • Yeah, we opted not to adopt one of the kids, because we couldn't afford to. Even the less expensive gifts listed were like $100. I looked at about 20 before saying, no, I can't do this. Yes, it's the season for giving and generosity, but an xbox? No way. If the family is that needy that they can't buy toys for the kids, then how long do you think the family is going to be able to keep that xbox? When you can't afford a jacket (because those are listed as NEEDS), you're going to have to sell the xbox to keep your family warm and fed. And I think that it's more important to teach these kids to take care of the needs before the wants. When mom doesn't have a jacket and her kid has an ipod, what message are we sending this kid? I'll buy a bike, books, clothes (even a brand if it's on sale), but not a pure luxury itme.

    Answer by apexmommy at 4:56 PM on Nov. 28, 2009

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