Writer / Samantha Hyde This Christmas, shoppers will find more than just bargains and festive lights as they wind their way through Castleton Square and Greenwood Park malls. A very special Christmas tree will also appear at each location, one that eschews shiny ornaments and tinsel for hundreds of simple paper angels with names like “Maddy,” “Anthony” and “Kayla.” The Salvation Army is partnering with CBS4 to launch a new program in Central Indiana called Angel Tree. It’s their hope that shoppers will “adopt” over 3,000 children, or “Angels,” this Christmas. Each paper angel represents one real child, a boy or girl whose name, age, wishes and needs are printed right on the angel. Sponsoring an Angel is easy. Shoppers simply choose a name from the tree and pledge to help The Salvation Army bring the joy of Christmas to this special child in need. Then they hit the stores, armed with their Angel’s description and an empty bag waiting to be filled with wants, like a special toy or game, and needs, like a warm coat or a pair of shoes. Once the bag is filled, shoppers return it to the Angel Tree volunteers, and The Salvation Army stores it until parents collect the gifts just before Christmas. The Angel Tree program started 35 years ago at a Salvation Army in Lynchburg, Virginia. It proved to be such an effective way to directly connect donors with children in need that it grew over time into a nationwide program currently helping more than one million children across the United States. Thanks to the generosity of individual and corporate donors, Angel Tree helps to make the holidays more joyful for families facing significant financial struggles and hardships. Major Bob Webster, Divisional Commander of The Salvation Army in Indiana, has experienced first-hand the impact Angel Tree has on a community. “There’s not a single Salvation Army program that touches the lives of families like our Angel Tree program does,” he explains. “It not only meets the needs of area children, but it grants their wishes and brings the spirit of Christmas to their home.” Angel Trees will appear inside Castleton Square and Greenwood Park malls on Saturday, November 21. The trees will be up with volunteers on hand to assist with Angel “adoptions” every Saturday and Sunday through December 13. Black Friday shoppers will also have a chance to adopt Angels or drop off filled bags at the Angel Tree stations. With thousands of Angels available for adoption, The Salvation Army is also counting on significant support from local businesses and groups looking for a way to give back this holiday season. This is an opportunity for companies to sponsor any number of Angels, whether that means five, 50 or even 100 children. With so many kids looking for a merrier Christmas this year, the Angel Tree program will need tremendous support from our community, so keep an eye out for those special trees and be a part of something wonderful this year! Learn more about Angel Tree by visiting SalvationArmyIndiana.org.