• EDITOR’S NOTE: The name of the Treasures for Children gift recipient was changed to protect his identity.
As a single father of four children, Steve Clifford, of Blairsville, is grateful to be able to rely on the annual Treasures for Children program.
Enrolling his children in the program for the past few years has meant that his children — ages 17, 15, 10 and 7 — can get excited about Christmastime.
Clifford suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and said his days of working in construction are over. The affliction makes it difficult to walk, let alone work, he said, so he has had to live on disability. And much of that goes just to feed his children’s growing appetites.
“It’s really helped out a lot. It has meant that there can be presents under the tree,” he said. “It’s been a blessing.
“It’s a wonderful group of people” who run that program, he said.
Clifford said he tried to work at multiple jobs as his condition went undiagnosed for a number of years, and worsened. Arthritis has gnarled his fingers and toes.
The Treasures for Children program, which matches children in families experiencing financial difficulties with people who are able to buy gifts for them, is administered by The Salvation Army and The Indiana Gazette.
Treasurers for Children Christmas trees, adorned with children’s wish list tags, are at more than 40 locations. Those who want to help can select a child’s wish list from a tree, buy gifts for that child and drop them off, unwrapped, at any tree location or at The Salvation Army, 635 Water St., Indiana.
The donated gifts must be delivered to any participating location by Dec. 7. The buyer should ensure the child’s tag is taped securely to the unwrapped gifts.
Some of the tags are for senior citizens and physically or mentally challenged residents.
Monetary contributions are also welcome. Checks may be made payable to “The Salvation Army Treasures for Children Program” and mailed to The Salvation Army, 635 Water St., Indiana PA 15701.
More information is available by calling The Salvation Army at (724) 465-2530 or The Indiana Gazette at (724) 465-5555.