By Ashley Conroy
JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Every year, the Salvation Army hosts their annual Angel Tree Adoption where thousands of needy children get toys for Christmas.
On Thursday, they officially opened up the Thomas Kelly Toy Shop for volunteers to start wrapping thousands of gift.
Their goal is to get 200 volunteers daily to wrap the thousands of gifts they have in stock.
Captain Jessie Chapman says more families are in need this year, compared to last year.
"We have a higher rate of children coming in this year for assistance," Chapman said. "We're helping actually 500 families more than we did last year."
New Orleans native Paulette Christoff is one of those volunteers. She endured Hurricane Katrina five years ago, and says she wanted to volunteer with the Salvation Army because they helped her during this crisis.
"I volunteered last year, and this is my second year, and they've just been very generous with me and my family," Christoff said.
Her two children are just one of 8,100 children across the Jackson metro area that need help.
And she says her kids are grateful for the help they've received. "My son wants anything dealing with Thomas the Train. He's a big Thomas the Train fan. My daughter, she's 13, she likes video games, Wii Games."
Statewide, they report around 23,000 children from 8,900 families on the Angel Tree list this year.
Meantime, the U.S. Marine Corps' "Toys for Tots" is another giving program that is designed to help needy children.
Their goal is to collect 60,000 toys for about 20,000 children in 19 different counties in the state. However, they say only about 5,100 toys have been collected.
To donate toys for the Toys for Tots program through the U.S. Marine Corps: 601-238-2425.
To volunteer for the Angel Tree Gift Wrapping through the Salvation Army: 601-238-2425.
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