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Angel Tree provides holiday helping

Slips of paper bearing children’s names share ornament space on Christmas tree branches at Ames and Wal-Mart.

Saturday, December 11, 1999

Slips of paper bearing children’s names share ornament space on Christmas tree branches at Ames and Wal-Mart.

Although casual observers might pass up the trees, heading for the sales counters and toy aisles, Sheila Holston hopes a little holiday spirit turns their heads during the next few days.

"There are many children in this county who don’t get Christmas presents each year," said Mrs. Holston, of the Salvation Army.

So, once again, twinkling Angel Trees at the two stores will link those children in need of a holiday helping hand with the public, while businesses, churches and others may make donations, she said.

"You leave a gift for a child, or provide the means, and we’ll pass it along," Mrs. Holston said.

Each card on an Angel Tree lists a child’s first name, age, clothing needs and sizes, and toy dreams.

Shoppers at the two stores may pluck a name card off the tree and take it with them while shopping, Mrs. Holston said.

"While you buy gifts for your family, buy a little gift for that other family," she said.

Leave the gift at the service desk with the name card and the store will make sure it gets to the Salvation Army for distribution to the more than 900 Lawrence County children whose parents filled out applications earlier in the year, she added.

Giving to the Angel Tree project is going a little slower than expected this year, though, probably because the cause lost at least two major corporate sponsors – one that provided gifts to 165 to 170 children and another that gave to 50 children, Mrs. Holston said.

St. Joseph Catholic Church has an Angel Tree for the congregation and the two retail stores with trees sponsor a couple of hundred children, she said.

And there are groups like the Moose Lodge that adopt a family, providing gifts, clothing, food and other needs during the holidays.

But more people need to pick names off the trees, and it wouldn’t hurt a business to sponsor a few children, so they don’t go without a little cheer on Christmas morning, Mrs. Holston said.

"The Salvation Army does this because it’s Christ’s birthday and it’s the best way of remembering him," she said. "He’s told us to search out the needy and do what we can to help and that’s what we should do."

Gifts must be turned in to service desks or organizers by Dec. 15. Salvation Army volunteers will notify recipients and distribute gifts in South Point by Dec. 18.

Not all those signed up for the charity program will be opening presents, though.

"If you haven’t been notified, then that means that we didn’t get enough sponsors," Mrs. Holston said.