Christmas Assistance “Angel Tree” Registration Opens

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Columbia, SC (WOLO)–  It is not even Thanksgiving yet, but Christmas is going to be here before you know it. That time of year can be a stressful time for families that need a little assistance. The Salvation Army is at the Ruff building at the State Fairgrounds registering families for the Christmas Assistance program “Angel Tree.”


ABC Columbia is a proud partner with the Salvation Army and this year we’re hoping to help more than four-thousand kids have a special Christmas. Families have been registering since 9 a.m., one of the deserving families is the Johnsons.


“Oh, Christmas was wonderful for me as a kid. I mean I got… most of the stuff I asked for, I got it. I’m not sure how hard my parents had to work for it, but when I woke up I saw everything I asked for under that tree. So I’m trying to make that dream continue for my kids,” Tawonna Johnson said. Johnson is a full-time nurse, full-time student, and full-time single mom of three. Johnson says all she wants is to see her kids smile on Christmas morning, but it is tough to have a grand Christmass when two of her kids have December birthdays. 


“I was happy, I was ecstatic. I wanted to jump up and hug Gary, but I’m like, let me stay in my area and keep my space. But yeah, it was happy, I was happy,” Johnson said after she learned her family was approved for the program.


There are more than 50 volunteers at the registration site at any given time, many like Gary making this project happen. 


“So grateful. Thank you for being so patient and willing to help out without making us feel small or belittled, like we’re doing something wrong. Because like I said before, we have to start somewhere. And it’s better to see your kids happy than for them to wake up and not see anything there. So if you can just step out on a limb, put your pride aside, and come out to make your kids happy then it’s all worth it,” Johnson said. 


Johnson’s excited to be able to give her kids the Christmas they deserve and she is looking forward to the day she will be on the other side of the table.


“Don’t be afraid, don’t be ashamed. Nobody’s perfect. You have to start somewhere. And once when I’m done with my nursing school and am a RN, I’ll be able to give back. And I can remember my times when I needed the assistance,” Johnson said. 


Visit the Ruff building at the State Fairgrounds to register for the Angel Tree. The Salvation Army will be there from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. 

Here is a list of what to bring:
1. Picture ID for the head of household.
2. Identification cards for everyone residing in the household. The following ID’s
can be used: U.S. driver’s license, State-issued non-driver ID card, U.S.
passport, Employee ID card, School ID card, Health insurance card (not
Medicare), Matrícula Consular ID card, U.S. military ID card or Birth
3. Proof of age for every child 12 years old or under. Only children 12 years and
younger can receive Christmas gifts. Birth certificates or other official
documents may be used for proof of age.
4. If your household currently qualifies for Food Stamps (SNAP), bring your EBT
card AND a recent food purchase receipt using your card. With proof of Food
Stamps (SNAP) benefits, numbers 5 and 6 (below) are not necessary.
5. Proof of all income in the home for the past 30 days (pay stubs, unemployment
statement, SSI Disability, Social Security statement, VA or other pensions).
6. If anyone in the household is 18 yrs. or older and does not have income, the
Head of Household must provide a written statement to verify no income.


If you want to be an Angel, Angel Trees will be located at Columbiana Centre and Columbia Place Mall or contact the Salvation Army office at 765-0260 or email

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