Tamberly Stone is well within her element at this time of the year.
The Program Coordinator of Center for Human Services-Oakdale dedicates a large part of her efforts the last few months of each year to the Angel Tree. For the past seven years, Stone has seen to it that wish tags for trees are disbursed throughout the Oakdale community.
“Last year we served well over 500 children,” the coordinator said, noting that once gifts are collected from the drop off site, an additional service is open to families who may have missed an angel tag opportunity.
“I think this is one of my favorite projects to just see how people come out of the woodwork to bless children. It’s so heartwarming,” Stone shared.
This year a number of trees filled with wishes of 310 children in need have been placed around town. Tree locations include: two area pre-schools, Steves Chevrolet, Oakdale Pediatrics, Wells Fargo, Oakdale Veterinary Group, Koru Power Yoga Studio, the Oakdale Leader, St. Mary’s Church and Crossfit Oakdale. Angel gifts are due to be returned Dec. 15.
“I’m super grateful to our community and how generous they are,” Stone stated of the business support and community willingness.
“We lost a really big site this year. That was really hard,” she confided. Yet not to be dissuaded, Stone shared due to the help and aid of volunteers they were able to add Crossfit Oakdale to the list, which helped absorb the impact of the original loss.
According to Stone, each Angel tag is complete with needs (i.e.: clothing, shoes) as well as wants/desires of a child. As a mother herself, she is passionate about the needs being met first for the child, rather than the wants.
“Absolutely the clothing is the most important,” she said. “Toys are easy for us to come by. We get toy donations like crazy. I need those kids to get clothes and a lot of them don’t. Shoes and new outfits are most important for these children in need.”
All family participants of the CHS Angel Tree are qualified Oakdale recipients.
Seven years later, Stone stated the success of the event is largely attributed to community generosity, as well as big hearted volunteers.
“Michelle is kind of my behind the scenes BFF,” Stone said of long-time volunteer Michelle Kendig. “She is so passionate and helpful, with whatever she can do. She’s done that for years and not a lot of people know that. She’s a very behind the scenes kind of gal, but I really appreciate her.”
With the community joining in to make the wish lists a reality, more than 300 local youngsters will have some holiday joy this season.