Angel Tree Project: Dallas, Texas
The Dallas Sai Center has participated in the Salvation Army Angel Tree Project during the past twelve Christmas holiday seasons. In this nation-wide project, volunteers are called on to purchase new clothes and toys as gifts for over one million needy children. The children, aged 6 months to 15 years old, would, otherwise, go without presents for Christmas. At the Dallas Sai Center, the older Sai Spiritual Education (SSE) students (aged 15 years and older) organize the project with the help of their teachers. They obtain several Angel cards from the Salvation Army, each card listing the name of a child, its age, gender and the child’s needs and wants. The Angel cards are then distributed among Sai Center members who procure the gifts or other items for their “angel”. The gifts are brought to the Center, where SSE students sort through and deliver them to the Salvation Army warehouse. The entire project usually takes about 3 to 4 weeks. For the past several years, the Sai Center has adopted 108 “angels”. A few are children who are "forgotten angels" in homeless shelters. In 2019, Sai volunteers also bought cheer to 20 forgotten Seniors.
More recently, the Sai Center members have also volunteered at the Salvation Army Warehouse during the first two weeks of December. The volunteers split into groups, with some sorting through the mountains of gifts, some locating the gifts stored on shelves in the large warehouse, and others adding additional gifts into the bags, if some requests are not met. Some volunteers greet and deliver the gifts to smiling, happy children and their parents when they come to pick up the gifts. For these volunteers, the highlight is the joy of interacting with the excited children and seeing the gratitude in their parents’ eyes that their children will get something this Christmas!