JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Nearly 2,000 children are signed up for the Johnson City Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program this year, and the first Angel Tree will be placed at the Mall at Johnson City on Monday.

“That’s about a four and a half to five percent increase over last year, and so the need is there,” Salvation Army Captain Benny Carringer said.

The Salvation Army continues to seek business partners or individuals to adopt angels, but that option will also be available at the mall next week and at Johnson City and Elizabethton’s Walmarts and its Sam’s Club starting Nov. 18.

The program has provided families in financial need with Christmas gifts for years. Once a child up to 15 years of age has been registered and accepted as an “angel” with the Salvation Army, their Christmas wish list is shared with community donors, who purchase gifts of clothing and toys for them.

The gifts are due back to the Salvation Army by Dec. 8 this year and are then distributed to the families to place under their Christmas trees.

Sponsoring a child can be done by calling the Salvation Army at (423) 926-2101 and asking for Melanie or Captain Crystal Carringer.

“Or you just go out to one of those locations where those angels are, take the tag off, shop for that kid and just bring it back by Dec. 8,” he said.