By: Cyrondys Jackson
(ALABASTER, AL)- December 20, 2021- Just a few days before Christmas, Santa positioned a chair in a tight corner near the entryway of The Salvation Army Alabaster Community Corps. Dressed in his traditional, warm, and fuzzy red, Santa gently jiggled silver jingle bells back and forth as he smiled and waved his gloved hand at children and families arriving to pick up gifts for The 2021 WBRC Fox 6 Gifts for Kids Birmingham Salvation Army Angel Tree.
Less than 30 minutes South of Birmingham, The Alabaster Community Corps serves as a local church, offering Bible studies and Sunday morning worship. But the Alabaster Corps offers more than a spiritual connection to the people living in and working in Shelby and Chilton Counties. The Corps also provides social services such as utility and rental assistance, food pantry services to combat hunger and meal insecurities.
On this brisk Monday morning in late December, one dozen volunteers and employees, are moving from room to room, searching for numbers assigned to large clear gift bags adorned with one phrase, “Doing the Most Good.” Inside each bag are gifts and toys for children, whose families are being served through the 2021 WBRC Fox 6 Gifts for Kids Birmingham Salvation Army Angel Tree.
Mrs. Linda Bibb, Social Services Case Manager, said the number of children served this year, doubled from last year. “We saw a big jump this year and are just grateful to be able to be here for the children and families that need our help.”
As families came to pick up their gifts, they were greeted by Majors Karen and Robert Lyle, Birmingham Area Commanders, and Alabaster Community Corps Officers. As Major Karen called out several numbers, there were volunteers on hand to retrieve the gifts- grabbing bags filled with goodies, and wheeling bikes, trikes, and scooters down the hallway and out of the side door.
Little eyes beamed with excitement, and tiny smiles adorned the faces of the kids that came in with their families, not sure of what to expect. “Hey Santa,” said a little boy as he coyly peered around the knees of his mom. Santa replied with a friendly shake of his jingle bells, and a jovial, “Ho, Ho, Ho… Merry Christmas!”
In 1998, WBRC teamed up with the Department of Human Resources to help collect toys for foster children in Jefferson County. In 2007, WBRC partnered with The Salvation Army and the WBRC FOX 6 Gifts For Kids Salvation Army Angel Tree program was created. The program includes Angel Trees in local shopping malls and on-site at area corporations, churches, and organizations. The local communities have fully supported the Angel Tree program, making it possible to help thousands of children each year.