RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — More families in central North Carolina are asking for help this year to provide for their children during the holiday season.

This year, The Salvation Army of Wake County says thousands more children have been added to the list to receive Christmas gifts from their Angel Tree Program.

The Salvation Army of Wake County’s Angel Tree at Crabtree Valley Mall (Chloe Rafferty/CBS 17)

It’s a trend across several counties in our area, and the program is trying to fill the gap.

Lt. Alison Hamilton, Assistant Officer with the Salvation Army of Wake County, said Wake County has about 7,600 angels this year.

That’s about 1,000 more than last year, and almost back up to their pre-pandemic levels of 8,000.

“Inflation naturally impacts every aspect of our lives,” said Lt. Alison Hamilton, assistant officer with the Salvation Army of Wake County. “It’s getting harder and harder to provide Christmas for their children as the years go on, as inflation continues to rise and their income isn’t.”

Each “angel” is a child who comes from a family in need.

“It’s just everything to them,” Lt. Hamilton said. “It shows the kid they’re loved and that they belong. It gives them a sense of belonging by having a Christmas.”

The Salvation Army of Durham, Orange and Person Counties are also seeing increased demand, seeing hundreds more angels in need this year.

The Salvation Army of Smithfield, which represents Johnston and Harnett Counties, said they are serving more angels this year as well.

Lt. Hamilton says with that demand, there’s also been more families looking to help.

“I had 200 angel tags to get us through the week, and we have blown through almost all of those angel tags in the first two days,” she said.

She said many of the families she’s seeing have children the same age as the angels in need.

“They get to instill that value of generosity and giving back to their community with their children at such an early age, and I think that just sets the tone for the kind of adults they will become,” she said.



Child picking out an angel from the Salvation Army of Wake County’s Angel Tree at Crabtree Valley Mall (Chloe Rafferty/CBS 17)

To adopt an angel, you can stop by the Wake County angel tree in Crabtree Valley Mall through Dec. 13.

The tree will be available from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day except Sundays and Thanksgiving.

You can also adopt an angel online by clicking here.