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Idaho Life: Angels of the Angel Tree

Christmas is still two months away, but a group of dedicated volunteers in Boise is already working to make sure every child gets a gift this holiday season.

BOISE, Idaho — We aren't even technically in the holiday season yet, but as the saying goes, need knows no season.

Well, neither does preparation.

As the Treasure Valley population grows, so does the need for help in getting gifts for kids under the tree at Christmas.

That process is getting going right now at places like Overland Court Senior Living in Boise.

"I'm trying to do something for someone else, trying to help the kids," volunteer Ruth Boyd said.

Residents at the senior center have already threaded, twisted and tied thousands of Salvation Army angel tags.

You've likely seen the tags dangling from Christmas trees at businesses and shopping centers throughout the Treasure Valley, helping gather gifts for families who cannot afford them.

Employees and customers can take a tag, which is for a specific child, and includes suggested gifts for that child.

Credit: Salvation Army
Angel Trees at Boise Town Square Mall.

With the Angel Tree Program, the Salvation Army is looking to serve about 3,000 children whose families have applied for Christmas assistance. The hope is that there will be enough donations to provide three gifts per child.

But before it adorns a tree, each tag gets assembled, most likely by the ladies at Overland Court.

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This is their second year volunteering for the Salvation Army's Angel Tree program.

"Just two of us, we did 5,000 [tags]," one volunteer said about last year's effort.

This time there are a lot more helpers, but they've added on about 2,000 more tags to their order to accommodate the growing need in the Treasure Valley.

"It might be tedious, but it means the world to someone who gets a toy under the tree this year," organizer Ambie Ballard said.

In less than a week, they volunteers have just about finished. And knowing they will have a hand in creating a memorable Christmas morning for someone they've never met means a lot.

"It would be really cool if somebody's best childhood memory comes from a tag that she's tying right now," said Keren Dehart, Overland Court's lifestyle director. "How cool is that?"

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