UPDATE: Monday at 3 p.m., 844 children still need to be adopted before Wednesday’s deadline.
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BATON ROUGE – More than half of the children participating in this year’s Angel Tree program with the Salvation Army Baton Rouge have yet to be adopted by donors as the organization sees an increase in requests for help.
“We’ve been through a hurricane, we’ve been through a pandemic, the economy is not what we would like it to be,” said Major Donald Tekautz. “So we’re just helping more families. We’re helping families now that we’ve never helped in the past.”
In 2020, the Salvation Army of Grand Baton Rouge served 2,500 children and 900 families. This year, more than 3,000 children and 1,100 families are counting on the generosity of others to make Christmas a reality.
Recently, Tekautz said the only time those numbers have been matched was in 2016, months after the Great Flood.
1,600 children have yet to be adopted or sponsored, Tekautz said, adding that the organization has never failed to meet the needs of every child.
“Definitely scary,” Tekautz said. “There are still a lot of children that we have to adopt, in a very short period of time so that we are ready for these gifts to be distributed to families before Christmas.”
Tekautz believes there are several reasons why so many children are waiting this year. Many large companies that typically select a large number of children do not do so this year. Others who typically donate find themselves trying to support their own families this year.
As Louisiana has faced several emergencies and natural disasters in recent times, Tekautz says people are feeling “donor fatigue.”
“It’s always been my fear before this Christmas, that over the last couple of years we’ve asked for a lot,” Tekautz said. “Because the need is great.”
With so many children to sponsor, the deadline to adopt a child has been extended until Wednesday.
Even though time is running out, Tekautz believes the community will once again come to the rescue with a Christmas miracle.
“I am convinced of this,” Tekautz said. “I’ve seen them do this in the past. How important are those numbers? They are. But it’s also a very generous and very generous community. When they see the need, they’re often very willing to move on. ‘before.”
All adoptions are online this year. To sponsor a child, Click here.