FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (WJLA) - The Salvation Army's annual Angel Tree program is back in full swing this year, with a goal to provide kids in need with the gifts they desire.
Giant Food and Walmart stores have them up, each adorned with wish lists from children from throughout the region. However, with demand up, so goes need, and donations have not kept pace thus far in 2013.
With a Friday deadline looming, Salvation Army officials say that they've only managed to collect presents for one-third of the 2,500 kids they're aiming to serve.
"We've had a much larger increase than we are expecting, and on top of that, we are shorter five days between Thanksgiving and Christmas," Salvation Army Fredericskburg Corps Lt. Jacob Granados said. "Our need has increased, but our time has decreased."
More donations were unloaded throughout Wednesday at a one-time Giant, which is serving as collection central. Everything from toys to clothes to bikes are coming in, but officials still say they need more to meet demand.
In total, 1,700 people are still waiting to have their wish lists fulfilled with just 48 hours to go. Empty black bags litter collection areas, waiting to be filled.
The collection is not for just children, either. Disabled people and seniors have also wished for everyday necessities; items as simple as toothpaste.
"We have a great-grandfather raising four autistic children," volunteer Zena Hemp said. "He asked for a set of dishes to feed his grandchildren."