DHR asking for Angel Tree#039; aid

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Traditionally, Christmas means people give gifts to others, parents want their children to have the best and everything is grand in the land of milk and honey.

However, the truth is that at Christmas, there are often those who aren’t able to give to others and parents are left wondering how they are going to have something under the tree on Christmas morning.

That is where the Angel Tree program sponsored by the Butler County Department of Human Resources and a host of volunteers comes in.

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According to Susan Sorrells, DHR program supervisor, several individuals and groups do angel trees that allow them to help individual children and families.

&uot;We make up the angels with a specific child or family in mind,&uot; Sorrells said.

&uot;We have groups that take these angels and then buy for them and we pool that with others and are able to provide for all we can.&uot;

The need is indeed great, Sorrells said.

Last year, through the Angel Tree program, approximately 365 children got something special for Christmas.

Also, about 125 elderly residents, couples and shut-ins also received special gifts.

Sorrells said many churches and civic groups take part in the program.

&uot;At Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, they sponsor about 20 families each year,&uot; Sorrells said. &uot;The senior class at Fort Dale Academy also did an Angel Tree this year as a class project.&uot;

Also through DHR, the county’s fosters kids are helped by the Greenville Jaycees.

&uot;Each year the Jaycees buy gifts for our foster kids and then hosts a party for them,&uot; she said.

She said the Kiwanis Club hosts a Christmas party for needy children.

Through DHR, the elderly benefits in many ways.

&uot;This year a food drive was held in November at all the area schools and we will take that food and put it in baskets,&uot; Sorrells said.

&uot;We have a local grocery store that is donating fruit for us to add in the baskets and West Point Stevens gave us blankets that we’ll add to some.&uot;

Sorrells stressed that no state or federal funds are used for any of the Christmas gifts or events, and that everything they give away comes from community donations.

&uot;Whitney Bank helps us send out letters to area businesses, civic groups and churches asking for their support in the program,&uot; Sorrells said.

She said they normally don’t have anyone who goes without something at Christmas and it’s because of community support.

&uot;People can give cash donations, a new toy or a clothing item and if someone wants to adopt a family for Christmas, we can still match them up too,&uot; she said.

&uot;We want to have everything ready for distribution by Dec. 19.

However, we will take other donations after that date.

We can use those late items for emergency situations such as a family being burned out.

Nothing goes to waste.&uot;

For more information on the program or how to help, call the person spearheading the Christmas activities, Lisa Syler at 382-4400.