MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – As of 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, the Salvation Army tells WMBF News all but 6 angels have been sponsored.
The Salvation Army is asking for Horry County residents to show their holiday spirit by sponsoring over 100 Angel Tree program "angels" that were returned unsponsored Thursday.
"This afternoon our hearts were broken when over 150 angels were returned to us unsponsored," states a post by the Salvation Army of Horry County.
Information tags for the 100 unsponsored kids were placed on the tree at the Coastal Grand Mall in hopes that they will get sponsored.
The Salvation Army's Angel Tree program matches kids in need with generous donors who purchase toys and clothes to match each child's need.
Corps Officer David Repass said more than 2,000 children are asking to be sponsored as an angel this Christmas season and that equals a total 460 families in Horry County, but he said that number may not be met if the angels aren't picked up.
"While it seems daunting when you look at it as a big number, the public is so generous, people do respond and we certainly appreciate it, and we appreciate it when people do return the gifts," he said.
The Salvation Army said sometimes local groups or businesses only fulfill half of the angels they adopt.
"But again 150 to 200 is a very considerable gap and it's certainly something we want to mend," Repass said. "When a large number like that is returned, it does signify something sure happened. We don't want to fault anyone; that's not our intention at all. We don't want to point fingers. On the contrary, we appreciate that before Wednesday (people) realized this and were able to return them to us so we can return to the public and say help us out."
The goal of the angel trees showing the tags in public is for people to experience.
"Groups do it as an effort with themselves, or families even come by. It's interesting because the parents say, 'Here's my 6-year-old boy, let's find a 6-year-old boy to purchase some toys for so they can get a connection too with the kids," Repass said.
Respass added that the 150 to 200 unadopted angels were returned before the weekend in time for Salvation Army representative to sort the gifts at the Waccamaw shopping center Monday and Tuesday before the distribution on Wednesday.
"We make it so the families are able to come and it's preset for every family - the clothing, the toys and even food we give them. So it's ready and we load them up and send them home," Repass said.
WMBF News is a proud sponsor of the program and a drop-off location for Angel Tree gifts. If you sponsor a last-minute angel, you can drop your gifts off at our studios, located at 918 Frontage Road East in Myrtle Beach.
More details on the program and locations where you can drop off gifts can be found on our Angel Tree page here.