MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Salvation Army is in the final stages of one of its biggest and most successful community projects — the yearly Angel Tree program.

Friday was the deadline for sponsors to drop of donations for their adopted Angels at the Kroc Center on East Parkway, where Santa’s elves were hard at work sorting gifts, filling an endless number of boxes with Christmas cheer for adopted angels.

Major Mark Hunter, area commander with the Memphis Salvation Army said the group this year took applications for over 1,700 families, which equals about 4,771 children and senior citizens.

Of course Angel Tree wouldn’t be a success if it weren’t for donations from individuals, churches, government and local businesses eager to step up and fill bags for a very worthwhile cause.

“Our company decided we wanted to adopt a couple of children this Christmas to spread some love and just love on them, so we adopted a little boy and a little girl and hope to bring some smiles to their faces,” said Sarah Shands, a manager with AICOMP Group.

The Salvation Army started taking applications in mid-October for the Angel Tree program, something especially important for families facing economic stress.

“What really brings joy is when a child opens up a gift (and) they (weren’t) expecting to get anything,” Hunter said.

Being a part of spreading that joy is why so many sponsors take part year after year.

“We ask a lot of our employees to see what they can donate every year. We’ve been doing this in my office for probably six years now,” said Angel Rivera with Martin Transport.

There are still 250 angels yet to be adopted, but the Salvation Army has a plan so no child is left out.

“People do toy drives and toys left over from last year. We’re able to use those toys to pack and give to those ‘forgotten’ angels,” Hunter said.

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Gifts will be handed out December 20th at the Kroc Center.

If you adopted an angel but weren’t able to drop off donations by Friday’s 4pm deadline, you can still bring your donations fo the Kroc Center.