Angel Tree organizers asking shoppers to give despite struggling economy
by Daniel Gaddy
Nov 24, 2010 | 1411 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Julianna Hallman, a senior at Walker High School and treasurer of the Anchor Club, places the last of the decorations on one of the Angel Trees in the Jasper Mall. Photo by: Daniel Gaddy
Julianna Hallman, a senior at Walker High School and treasurer of the Anchor Club, places the last of the decorations on one of the Angel Trees in the Jasper Mall. Photo by: Daniel Gaddy
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Local officials are hoping Jasper Mall shoppers will stop by the Angel Trees near Belk and remember the many children in the area at risk of not having Christmas presents.

For almost 20 years, the Pilot Club of Jasper, the Walker High School Anchor Club and the Walker County Department of Human Resources have sponsored the Christmas trees decorated with paper angels. Each angel contains the Christmas wish of an area child.

Karen King, service supervisor for DHR, said the angel tree hasthe wished of around 200 children this year. That’s compared to about 75 last year.

“That’s the most names I can remember in a long time,” she said. “I’m hoping and praying all the children get something this year.”

King said organizers usually struggle to secure items from the wishes of teenagers.

King said the harsh economic environment endured by the entire nation is the cause of the increase in Angel Tree wishes and her concerns about securing the presents for each child’s wish. She said many people fail to see how not receiving a Christmas present can hurt a child’s spirit. She said she remembered coming back to school from Christmas break as a young girl and all of the kids asking, “So what did you get?”

“I can remember kids saying, ‘I didn’t get anything,’ and we didn’t understand that as children,” she said.

King said, though many families have hit hard financial times, there are many families struggling just to survive.

“This (donating to the Angel Tree) lets these families see there still is good in this world,” she said.

Viki Lyle, sponsor of the Walker High Anchor Club, said the act of granting an Angel Tree wish often provides the giver with more gratification than the child receiving the gift.

“It’s a worthy cause,” she said. “It makes sure we can fulfill the wishes of these children.”

Lyle said she would also like to thank Witcher Office Supplies in Jasper for providing the paper that made the angel ornaments.

Those interested in buying a gift for the Angel Tree can take a paper angel and return the unwrapped gift to Deb & Company in the Jasper Mall by Dec. 17. The angel with the child’s name should be attached to the gift. Organizers of the Angel Tree are also collecting bikes for the children. Donations of bicycles can be dropped off at DHR in Jasper Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. King asked those dropping off bikes to speak with someone at the front desk rather than leaving them at the building.

King said the organizers, the children and their families are appreciative of any help they receive.

“We’re thankful there are people out there who are caring enough to provide a gift for these children who would otherwise go without,” she said.