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    Girls Empty Their Savings To Help Others

    Photo caption: Arlene and Priscilla Delgado, ages 4 and 8, each used their savings to purchase Christmas toys for a less fortunate child through the Salvation Army San Bernardino Corp’s Giving Tree program at Inland Center Mall. Help the Salvation Army obtain more toys for children in need by going to the Giving Tree near the mall’s Food Court by Dec. 20. Photo by Kelly Silvestri-Raabe

    (SAN BERNARDINO, Calf.) Arlene Delgado, age 4, and her sister, Priscilla, age 8, have some fantastic Christmas plans. They ‘re leaving a few days before the holiday to spend an entire month with their mom’s sister in Indiana.
    The girls have also made sure two other children have a fantastic Christmas. They did so by purchasing gifts through the Salvation Army Giving Tree set up near the food court of Inland Center Mall. These gifts will go to children ages 0-12 whom the Salvation Army has identified as members of some of the neediest families in our area.
    “When these girls brought their gifts to the Giving Tree, they wanted to make sure they would go to the children who had asked for them,” said Kelly Silvestri-Raabe, who was volunteering at the tree the night the girls went shopping. “It turned out they had emptied their piggy banks to buy these presents.”
    “That’s what the spirit of Christmas is all about, “ Silvestri-Raabe added. “Two little girls gave all they had.”
    Priscilla Delgado, who turns 9 on Dec. 27, had been saving her money all year, according to her mother Regina Delgado. Arlene had saved a smaller amount.
    Meanwhile, the family was planning to give Priscilla one Christmas/birthday gift, a trip to Disneyland.
    But, when their aunt invited the family to stay with them for the girls’ entire Christmas break, that was even more exciting. The trip to Disneyland would have cost even more money than staying with family in Indiana.
    “We decided to use our Disneyland money to buy something for other people,” Regina Delgado said. “I encouraged my girls to do this, because our family believes it is more important to give than to receive. We will be spending our Christmas with family, and that is the best gift of all.”
    The Giving Tree is a way used by Salvation Army corps worldwide to help less fortunate children receive at least one gift on their Christmas wish lists. From Thanksgiving until a few days before Christmas, trees are set up in local malls and other shopping areas.
    Attached to branches of the tree are cards with names of children whose families simply cannot afford to buy gifts, as much as they would love to. Shoppers who want to take part by helping disadvantaged children simply pluck a tag off the Giving Tree, read the child’s name and wish list, then head for the appropriate store for a little sharing of their own.
    Shoppers don’t even have to stay in the mall where they found the Giving Tree. After obtaining the information for their gift tree recipients, the Delgado family purchased gifts at Target.
    Others have taken advantage of a partnership the Salvation Army has formed with JCPenny for the Giving Tree program.  Online shoppers can go to JCPenny.com/Angel and search for children (and in some places senior citizens) in any ZIP Code.
    The website allows online shoppers to order a gift from Penney’s online catalog, and gives them the choice of dropping the gift off at their local Salvation Army’s collection center, or of having UPS ship it, at no charge, to that collection center.
    It is not too late to be matched with a child either at Inland Center Mall or through JCPenny.com
    Salvation Army volunteers make sure the presents are earmarked for the specific child.
    To help, or for more information, call (909) 888-1336.
    About the Salvations Army San Bernardino Corps
    The Salvation Army may be able to provide emergency services including food; lodging for homeless or displaced families; clothing and furniture; assistance with rent or mortgage and transportation when funds are available. The Salvation Army Team Radio Network assists rescue workers and evacuees in such disasters as fires.
    The Salvation Army is an evangelical part of the Universal Christian church and also offers evangelical programs for boys, girls and adults. One of the largest charitable and international service organizations in the world, The Salvation Army has been in existence since 1865 and in San Bernardino since 1887, supporting those in need without discrimination. Donations may always be made online at www.salvationarmyusa.org or by calling 1-(800)-SAL-ARMY.
    For local help, call (909) 888-1336.


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