Nearly 1,600 Fayette County kids helped at Christmas by the Salvation Army's Angel Tree program still need gifts, about 1,000 more than at this time last year.
"When I saw the number, I felt concerned," said Maj. Debra Ashcraft, a spokeswoman for the Salvation Army. "My second thought was, our community is very generous. If we can get the word out, I believe people will respond."
She said this is the first time she can remember that so many children remain.
Because of the large number of children not served, the Angel Tree program has extended its drop-off date for the first time, until Tuesday. The program traditionally runs from the Friday before Thanksgiving to the second Sunday in December.
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The unserved children include 1,050 kids whose names were not adopted off the trees, 111 children whose Christmas lists were returned by large businesses that couldn't find donors for all they had planned to help, and 431 kids whose names were added after the official deadline because demand was so great, Ashcraft said.
She said the Salvation Army will find a way to do something for every child, but the gifts might be limited.
"We can probably do very little for each child if we have to stretch," she said.