Charlotte, NC—This has been the year for closures, cancellations and postponed events, but there is good news for children in our community who need Christmas more than ever. It’s still coming, thanks to The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree and all of the businesses and individuals who support it. A M King is proud to be part of such a meaningful program year after year, assisting with the collective effort to help families who are struggling.
In 2009, A M King began providing $150 for each employee to sponsor a child from The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program. In 2014, Brian King, founder and president of A M King, made the decision to adopt an additional 100 Angels every year. A M King employees, at both the company’s Charlotte headquarters and Greenville, SC office, shopped for their Angels before Thanksgiving this year, coordinated gift package assembly for each individual Angel and loaded clothes, toys and scooters onto The Salvation Army truck for delivery.
The effort took a little muscle and a lot of heart and will make wishes come true for kids who might otherwise not receive anything for Christmas. This year the firm ensured that approximately 140 children will receive Christmas toys and winter clothing.
“We understand that this year, more than ever, there are a lot more families and children in need,” explained A M King Vice President Dan Crist in interviews with local television stations. “Those of us here at A M King understand the fortunate position we’re in and are grateful that we can provide some joy for families experiencing hardship during this holiday season.”
The Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte reports a more than 25 percent increase in Christmas requests this year. “Families have been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Major Todd Mason, area commander for The Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte. “Many who were already struggling find themselves having to make difficult financial decisions. Some who never thought they would need help have come to The Salvation Army for assistance this year for the first time.”
Serving more than 10,000 children who are part of the Angel Tree networks in Charlotte and Greenville, S.C., especially during a pandemic, takes community teamwork. We all have a role to play. At A M King, commitment starts at the top with leaders who provide both the funding and the coordination necessary to achieve our goals. All hands are on deck, as each employee participates in the program in one way or another. Sarah Smith, Marketing Coordinator, has been a particularly integral part of the operation this year. She purchased toys for more than 100 children, bundled multiple gifts in individual bags and worked remotely with other team members to coordinate the massive effort.
“Buying toys for The Salvation Army Angel Tree program this year looked a lot different than in previous years,” she explains. “Working remotely, shopping online and not being able to take inventory as each package arrived was challenging, but it didn’t stop us. I truly enjoy purchasing toys that I hope will make kids smile and I was happy to be a part of this amazing experience. What a great way to get into the holiday spirit.”
This project also presents a great opportunity for newer hires to learn more about A M King’s culture and find out why the company is so committed to community engagement.
“This program, in particular, is clearly a tremendous commitment for A M King,” says Nathan Achor, Project Engineer. “It was a lot of fun for me to participate because I felt like a kid again getting to choose cool clothes and toys for Christmas. I shopped for a little boy at age 10, and I was able to get him a PlayStation controller as well as a shirt, coat, pants, hoodie, and shoes. I even worked up a bit of sweat loading the gifts into the Salvation Army truck, but it felt good helping to make Christmas special for these Angel Tree kids.”
Angel Tree program families will pick up gifts between December 16 and December 21 at the Christmas Center on JW Clay Blvd. It will be a completely drive-through event, with volunteers and staff placing the bags in vehicles. The Salvation Army has had significantly fewer volunteers to help pack and sort gifts this year and therefore has had to rely on seasonal staff. “We are thankful for all of our volunteers, as well as the many corporations, like A M King, who have adopted angels or given financially to help pull off a program of this magnitude,” says Major Mason.