Close to one decade since launching the Angel Tree Project, it is fair to say Oakdale Center for Human Services Program Manager Tamberly Stone is still taken aback by the generosity of the community.
This year, the local non-profit will host the community driven event for the ninth consecutive year. Each year, Stone and her staff solicit the help of local businesses, churches, pre-schools and anyone else who might be willing to host a tree which is then filled with nametags representing youth from as young as an infant on up to 18 years of age.
“At the beginning of the season, I really felt like we weren’t going to have as many sites and we weren’t going to be able to fill as much need and I really felt concerned about that,” Stone candidly shared, noting a number of locations from previous years did not commit for year nine.
The program manager stated with anticipation of a rougher year than in the past, she spoke with the staff and accepted that if it was less, it was still okay. Be it 120 or 500 they would still be having a positive impact on the life of a child.
Early this week, Stone was able to confirm that tags will be hung on trees in close to one dozen locations throughout the Oakdale community. That equals a number which will serve between 250 and 300 recipients.
Angel Tree locations for the 2019 Christmas season are: Steves Chevrolet, House of Tykes, Learning Tree Preschool, Pak Mail, The Oakdale Leader, Cocina Michoacana, El Rosal Riverbank, Oakdale Veterinary Group, Pure Joy Salon, Get Fit Oakdale and Fit Republic Oakdale.
“Angels are delivered to sites prior to Thanksgiving so that people can take advantage of Black Friday savings,” Stone said. “The sooner they have them the better.”
Later this week Stone and her staff will deliver tags to the tree locations enabling them to set up their trees at the respective sites. Some locations have requested as many as 40 tags. That’s a number which astounds Stone, yet she is grateful for all the same.
For businesses and locations unable to accommodate the needs of the Angel Tree the CHS team is requesting drop locations for toy and pajama donations.
“We decided to go with pajamas because we feel like every kid needs pajamas and it’s a little easier for us to store pajamas than it is to store coats,” she said of the addition to the program.
Each year during distribution, the Center for Human Services team offer additional items such as a toy, coat or pajamas to families whose children may not be an Angel Tree recipient. The addition of this project enables the group to positively affect the lives of close to 500 children.
“Through this project we’ll take in so many extra donations that are not just Angel tags,” Stone said, noting shoe boxes from Oakdale High School, toys and coats from Atlas Court Christmas Lane, as well as random donations dropped at the office or into boxes.
“It’s just rewarding to know that kids that might wake up and have nothing on Christmas are going to have something,” she said of continuing to bring the project to the community.
“The community of Oakdale is just so generous in general,” she continued. “You can’t help but get teary or shed a few tears because it’s just so amazing.”
For additional information or to choose an Angel tag contact one of the listed businesses. For information on hosting a pajama drop off box, contact CHS at 847-0420.