HONESDALE—The Salvation Army is gearing up to get underway for its annual Angel Tree Christmas assistance program with a call for application appointments to begin.

Sign-up dates for this year's Angel Tree are between October 10 and October 16 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Sign-up is only available by appointment. Those in need are encouraged to call the local office at 570-352-3435 to make an appointment.

Applicants must be residents of Wayne County and will need to provide identification for all adults and children living in the household.

Applicants must also have physical custody of the children they wish to register.

Those who sign-up are not permitted to have signed-up with any other Christmas donation agency or organization.

The sign-up process is expected to take about an hour.

Each year, the Salvation Army organizes a three-fold delivery of clothing, food and a few toys to those children and families in need in Wayne County.

According to Salvation Army Service Extension Department Office Director Shelley Mihalik, the program was able to reach over 500 children and over 100 local families last year.

“It's a good way of giving back,” said Mihalik. “When we're blessed, we can bless others too.”

Families who sign up record the ages, preferences and clothing sizes of their children. This information is then given anonymously to sponsors who purchase the necessary garments and a wish list of up to three items for the recipients.

Mihalik stated sponsors could be either generous individuals, or even whole families who come together to help those in need.

Sponsoring families at Christmas time has been a tradition for Mihalik and her family since even before she began organizing the event, she said.

It taught her children to cherish the value of giving and not just receiving, she explained.

Mihalik mentioned this year will be additionally challenging due to the absence of the Wayne/Pike Toys for Tots organization.

Charitable donations through Toys for Tots provided Christmas gifts for several thousands of children last year.

With such a valuable resource no longer available, more will be required from the Salvation Army and the Children's Christmas Bureau to cover the loss, said Mihalik.

“There's quite a task ahead of us,” she stated, emphasizing that the need for Angel Tree sponsors this year is great.

That being said, Mihalik added “Our community is wonderful, they've never let us down.”

Those interested in being a sponsor for the Angel Tree are advised to call Mihalik at the above-mentioned number to learn more about how to do so.

“I think every child deserves a Christmas,” said Mihalik, urging members of the community to do what they can to help as many Wayne County children as possible get what they need for Christmas.