PORTSMOUTH — A poem about a Christmas tree goes, “One little star on the top of the tree, two little presents underneath for me”.
This same mantra is one that highlights the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program and its’ importantance for children in the Scioto County area who might not have presents if not for the Salvation Army.
One of Salvation Army Portsmouth’s own Misty Simco was in need of the type of assistance the organization offers at an earlier time in her life.
During her teenage years, Simco’s parents had divorced and her family was struggling.
“I was one of those kids and when my parents got divorced, we were in government housing. I was a teenager and they didn’t really have the Angel Tree or other services for teenagers,” Simco said. “It would have been nice to have an extra gift under the tree. The teenagers kind of get left out, people feel they are more independent and it’s not as necessary and I get that, but it is nice to have a gift under the tree for a teenager.”
The Angel Tree program within the Salvation Army got its’ start in 1979 by a Lynchburg, Virginia couple, Charlie and Shirley.
The story of the origin of the Angel Tree program is fully encapsulated in the YouTube video, “Angel Tree Program Works Christmas Magic | Salvation Army”.
Simco talked about this year and the Salvation Army Portsmouth’s efforts to ensuring they participated in the Angel Tree program to be able to give area children and teens Christmas gifts they might not otherwise have.
“The Angel Tree program is all supported by the communities, I don’t typically buy toys, but this year mainly because of COVID, I had donations come in like from the group PALS (Portsmouth Area Ladies) and some other organizations that gave us some other donations and they wanted toys to be purchased,” Simco said. “So, I did buy toys this year. The 11-13-year-old boys and girls were short, they were only going to get one gift, so I went out and used that money and bought toys for those children. It was very generous for the PALS organization to help us with that, overall, I spent about $1,200 getting the gifts that we needed. Ultimately, I didn’t want those kids to do without gifts.”
Simco went on to tell her personal story about the Salvation Army and that they allowed her to come to their programs and participate.
“They would come to get me, even when I was in college, they would meet me halfway to let me go to their programs,” Simco said. “They reached out to me, they cared about me and that’s what connected me to the Salvation Army. Really, I believe that God gave me the Salvation Army to help save my life.”
This year alone, Salvation Army Portsmouth served 200 families and up to 700 people with gifts.
Simco is married to Dan Simco who is also an officer at the Salvation Army and together they have two grown children and a 16-year-old foster daughter. Sharayah, 25, is a member of the U.S. Coast Guard stationed in Alaska and Malisa, 23, is a Media Specialist for McGohan Brabender, Inc. in Dayton.
After beginning dating in college, were hired by the Salvation Army in Cincinatti before being trained to become Salvation Army officers and then later lieutenants.
“This who we are and this is what we are, and if I can tell someone about Jesus in a practical way, then that is what I do,” Simco added. I just know what God has done for me, what Jesus has done for me and there is hope.”
Visit https://easternusa.salvationarmy.org/southwest-ohio/portsmouth/ways-to-give/ to learn how you might be able to give to the Salvation Army Portsmouth to help local families in need.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
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