The holidays are a time for giving and what better way to do that than to assist the Salvation Army in their efforts to give back to the community. Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 75th Fires Brigade, did just that by helping reorganize their store and setup for the Salvation Army's Angel tree program and food drive.

The Salvation Army is a non-profit, Christian organization that takes in donations and volunteered time to do as much as they can to give back to the Lawton, Fort Sill community. They assist fire and natural disaster victims and any money they produce from their store is sent to Social Services to help assist at the homeless shelter. According to store manager, Marshall Powell, they are also the creators of the Angel Tree program that allows members of the community the opportunity to provide a child and family with a Christmas they may not be able to have otherwise.

Wednesday, more than 20 Soldiers took a little time out of their day before the block leave period to help the Salvation Army get a little more organized. When the Soldiers arrived the store had more of a warehouse appearance, than a store and that is where they attacked first. Store manager, Marshall Powell, had wanted to clean the store up for quite some time, but a shortage of personnel was making it hard to accomplish and this was more than he ever could have asked for.

"We just don't have the manpower to accomplish everything here in the store and these Soldiers have done something in hours that would have taken us a week. We really couldn't have done without their help today", said Marshall Powell.

The Angel Tree program is a program where the community is able to register their families for assistance by providing the Salvation Army with the ages and genders of their children. Then that information is placed on a tree in the mall. People that are wishing to donate will then take a card from the tree and go buy presents for that specific child and bring the presents back to the tree for the Salvation Army to pick up and distribute to the family. This distribution will take place on the December 22nd where the families will also receive a food basket to help prepare Christmas dinner for the family.

After completing their work cleaning the store, the Soldiers moved over to assist the Angel Tree program where some of the Soldiers looked like kids at Christmas with all of these toys in front of them. They had the cards with the information on them and proceeded to pack up the bags for all the children that were registered.

"This is fun for me. I have been donating my time for years now and this just gives me the opportunity to give whatever I am able to give, to help those in need", said Sgt. Darrell Hudson-Jones, HHB training room.

The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year for the Salvation Army and the Soldiers were able to give a little relief to the organization. They accept donations and volunteer work all year long. If you have donations or you would like more information, you can contact them at 580-355-0399.