Fa la la la! The holidays are here, and thanks to the efforts of one of our talented writers,  Neil Cote, TrueLine Publishing is doing its part to make the lives of 25 Portland, Maine-area kids a little brighter this December.

Prominently placed and adorned with lights and tinsel, our Salvation Army Angel Tree has jingled TLP’s holiday spirit, with nearly all of the name tags—each corresponding to an individual child and including their age and wish list of gifts—having been spoken for.

Since the tradition was started back in 1979 by Charles and Shirley White, the Angel Tree program has become one of the Salvation Army’s most recognizable initiatives, its trademark trees and tags decking the halls of businesses the world over. More than that, the program has given millions of children the cheer they all deserve.

By Tuesday afternoon the TLP tree was surrounded with bags containing toys, clothes and other gifts, including two brand-new gleaming bikes. Taken by itself, the bounty might seem a modest one. Extrapolated out over thousands of trees in tens of thousands of towns across the country, however, and you start to appreciate the scale of the impact.

“We’re really lucky to live and work in a region with an extremely high quality of life,” says TrueLine founder and CEO Haj Carr. “Sometimes it’s easy to forget that there are people in our community who need our help. The Angel Tree is something tangible we can do to help—you can literally touch it and see a glimpse of the child you’re impacting.”

Salvation Army Tree TrueLine Publishing Gives Back to Community

Indeed, it’s far too easy for the hustle and bustle of the holiday season to distract us from charitable giving. Which is why having that visible reminder—of how lucky we are and good we have it—is sometimes all that’s needed to spark action that, while seemingly small in scope, can have a profound impact.

For Neil, a New England native and proud Salvation Army supporter (he’s been known to buy a cookie or cup of coffee for some of the bell-ringers on Congress Street, near TLP’s office), leading the effort gave employees a simple, straightforward way to address the challenges faced by many area children.

I think their presence [The Salvation Army] helps remind us this season isn’t just about the well-to-do exchanging gifts; that there are people of modest means who deserve those moments of happiness just as much as we do.” – Neil Cote, TrueLine writer and Angel Tree organizer

“When I do my own Christmas shopping, I want it to be somewhere that the Salvation Army is welcome outside,” Neil says. “I think their presence helps remind us this season isn’t just about the well-to-do exchanging gifts; that there are people of modest means who deserve those moments of happiness just as much as we do.”

Even if you missed the chance to take a tag, the Salvation Army’s Portland storefront (located at 297 Cumberland Avenue) is still accepting gifts and other donations. You can also visit the organization’s regional websites, many of which feature “Forgotten Angel” tree tags.

From our TLP family to yours, wish a joy filled holidays to all!