It is more blessed to give than to receive. With that as a starting point, there are many creative ways for small businesses to make holiday giving more impacting on people’s lives – especially and most importantly for teenagers. Consider assisting in the work of the Salvation Army Of The North Shore if your business is located in our area.

Yes, the ringers of the bells and the guardians of the Red Kettles.

Captain Dennis Knight, Corps Officer of the North Shore Corps Community Center explains “The Salvation Army of the North Shore assists all in need in Salem, Marblehead, Beverly, Peabody, and Danvers. Each person who expresses a need and is able to share some financial information that allows us to determine the scope of need will receive holiday assistance.”

Angeltree-1The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program provides new clothing or toys for children of needy families through the support of donors. Found at local companies and corporations, Angel Trees are decorated with numbered paper angel tags with the first name, age and gender of a child in need of presents. Contributors remove one or more tags from the tree and purchase appropriate gifts for the child or children described on the tags.

But there is a specific need manifesting itself in recent years— gifts for teenagers. Apparently people just automatically donate toys for pre-teens and don’t follow through to older kids.

And this is where your small business can come to the rescue. Adopt a teen. Invest in the community’s future, whether your business is in Salem or elsewhere.

“I think people believe that Christmas is more for younger kids and that older kids understand the family’s situation and accept that there is nothing for Christmas. While that may be true, it’s nice to provide a gift or two for them as well,” states Captain Knight.

For teens, he suggests donors purchase gifts that teenagers may want such as itunes cards, clothing, basketballs, etc.

“In terms of gifts for kids, we allow the parents to list a few ideas as sort of a ‘wish-list’. The gifts are to be around $30 or less.”

He adds, “Our philosophy is such that we see Christmas assistance as two fold. It is a joy to be the agency that the community trusts to ensure that kids / families have a good Christmas and to see the community taking ownership and a role in shopping for specific kids. We are in a privileged position to see the kids receive some great gifts and also to see those that ‘adopt’ a child take great pleasure in being the vehicle that provides that child with a nice gift.”

You can also call to ask about the Angel Tree program in respect to bringing a small group to help with distribution in December. Or volunteer to have staff stand at the Red Kettle for a Saturday (it is recommended that groups take a full day, with team members signing up for 1-2 hour shifts).

Deadline for Angel Tree program on the North Shore is Dec. 17th. Check with your local Salvation Army for deadlines in your community.

The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church, is a non-profit organization wholly funded by private and public donations.

You can drop off toys at 93 North St. Salem MA. Mailing address for donations is PO Box 408 Salem, MA 01970. And for additional info, call 978-744-5181.

Younger kids are obviously easier to buy for, as gifts are less expensive, but teens are still kids at heart during the holidays.