To the point week of 12-8-11

505

‘TIS THE SEASON TO BE – helpful.

Yes, I know that the true saying is “jolly”, but there’s a way this Christmas season that you can be helpful, and that will assuredly make you jolly, too.

Each year at this time we are faced with all sorts of chores and shopping and different things to get done in order to get ready for Christmas. We are also reminded at this time of year that there are many people in our community who face a different kind of challenge.

Trying to find some extra money to give their children a nice Christmas.

More and more, that’s becoming a tougher challenge for members of our community.

For the past several years, a group of dedicated volunteers has organized an “Angel Tree” program with the goal of asking members of the community to pitch in a little bit in order to help others on a large scale.

If you’re not familiar with “Angel Tree”, you go to one of the various locations around the community and you will find a Christmas tree decorated with blue and pink angels. On the backs of those angels are “wish lists” for a specific boy or girl in the community.

It’s not all a bunch of toys; because the list includes things like shoes and shirts and pants and winter coats and gloves. There are sizes and favorite colors. There is a spot for a favorite sport or team.

And – there’s a spot for a wished for toy, because, after all, it’s Christmas.

A person simply takes an angel and goes and shops for that child. You don’t have to fill every need on the back, but a package of socks here and some underwear there, and it doesn’t really add up to a bunch of money to help a Switzerland County child have a nice Christmas.

Once you’re finished shopping, you simply take your angel (each angel has a number on it that corresponds with a child – you don’t know the identity of the child you’re shopping for) and your presents to the location listed and hand them in.

Here’s a good part – you don’t even have to wrap them. It is suggested that you include a roll of wrapping paper with your gifts, but all of the wrapping is done by volunteers. That way they can make sure that the presents being given are new and unbroken and appropriate for the child.

We’d all like to think that no one would pawn off used items and dirty clothes to the Angel Tree – but when the ultimate goal is to make sure this is a great Christmas for a child, you check things.

Sounds easy, right?

Well, I know that this has been a tough year for many people in the community; and I know that in some homes it’s hard enough to buy presents for our own families, let alone another person we don’t even know. Money’s tight all over, perhaps adopting an angel just doesn’t seem to fit into your budget.

Try and fit it in, anyway.

As I write this, Dianna South – a true angel herself – tells me that there are still 56 angels hanging on trees in the community that haven’t been adopted yet.

That’s 56 children who don’t yet have a Christmas present to open.

Yet.

Time is getting short, because the volunteers need the items in their hands by this Monday, December 12th, so that everything can get organized and wrapped and arrangements can be made for the parents to pick up the items for the kids. That doesn’t give us much time to adopt those kids and buy those presents and get them into the hands of the angel tree volunteers.

But it’s Christmas – we can do this!

Call Dianna South at State Farm Insurance during the day at 427-3636; or call her cell phone at (812) 584-2124 and tell her you want an angel.

Maybe you’re a couple who doesn’t have anyone to buy for. I guarantee this will warm your holiday spirit.

Perhaps you’re a family who decides that everyone is going to get one less present this year so that money can be spent on an angel. If so, you won’t have a nicer holiday.

Maybe there’s a civic organization out there who can take a couple of angels.

Maybe it’s your church or your Sunday School class or youth group. Maybe it’s just you.

I don’t know your circumstances, but I do know that I live in a community that won’t let 56 kids not have a nice Christmas.

I live in a community that rallies together when there’s a problem or a situation and we work together to make sure that the problem is fixed.

You want to help, but you can’t get out and buy the presents? Dianna South takes cash donations, which she or other volunteers will use to go out and buy presents. You can be a part of the solution and never leave your house.

“Angel Tree” is so much more than Christmas, because the group is also involved in filling backpacks with school supplies in the fall; and tennis shoes for gym class are made available.

It’s an organization of people who, at its core, are totally focused on seeing a need and then working to meet that need.

It’s Thursday and they need this community’s help by Monday.

Let’s get busy.

*

In mentioning Angel Tree, I also need to tell you about the tremendous work that our local Fraternal Order of Police lodge does at this time of the year.

In this edition you will see photos and information about the “Breakfast with Santa” that the FOP had this past Saturday at the Ogle Haus. At that event, $500 was raised for the FOP’s “Shop with a Cop” program. In it, county children are identified whose families need help this Christmas season (the FOP works with Angel Tree and others, so there’s no overlap). Those children then have the chance to go shopping with a member of our law enforcement groups. The officer takes a child and assists them in getting Christmas presents. Again, there’s lots of clothing and other needed items involved, but the kids also get to buy a toy that they’ve been wishing for.

It’s a great program and our FOP should be saluted for its willingness to take it on and see it through.

Take that, along with food baskets that are handed out by different community groups like churches and the American Legion, and we all begin to see that this Christmas season is made much brighter because there are a lot of people and groups out there who work year around to see that this is truly a special time of the year.

After all, as I wrote earlier – when you’re helpful, you can’t help but be jolly.