Weatherford Democrat

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November 20, 2012

Trees for Angels

WEATHERFORD — Throughout the year, Manna Storehouse builds its reputation for helping out needy families around Parker County.

During the holidays, Manna and the Salvation Army partner up for one of their biggest annual events benefitting children, Angel Tree ministries.

“It’s basically a way for the public to contribute for underprivileged youth,” volunteer and Angel Tree coordinator Brenda Arnold said.

In order to qualify a child for Angel Tree, families must comply with guidelines and provide financial income among other things.

Families wanting to get their child on an Angel Tree can sign up until Dec. 1.

“The majority of our clients are actually Manna clients, so we know that they qualify,” Arnold said.

Children through age 15 are listed on placards, with age, gender and clothing and shoe sizes listed, and placed on Angel Trees set up around the community. Toys and other items can also be listed on the placard.

“We ask the families what the children need and want and allow a $50 price range per child,” Arnold said. “We encourage participants to try and get as many of those items as they can while staying within the $50 range.”

Purchased items must be placed in a black plastic bag and dropped off at the Weatherford Manna location, 129 E. Spring St., by the dates listed on the back of the card.

Children not chosen from the tree, or packages that come up short of items listed, are filled by Manna volunteers and funded through the organization. Arnold said there are currently around 700 names on trees placed in various areas.

“Out of those 700, we’ll end up maybe having 50 that either weren’t chosen or didn’t have all the things needed,” she said. “When we get closer to the deadline, we’ll run back out to the locations and pick up the ones that are left and go shopping for them.”

The Salvation Army, which receives gift cards donated by Walmart, funds the additional purchases.

With more than 1,400 kids who qualified for the program this year, more and more businesses and locations opened their doors to participate in Angel Tree.

Some, such as City Hall and the Weatherford Police Department, have hosted a tree for a number of years while others, including the Weatherford VFW Post 4746, got in on the action for the first time.

“We were very excited to get on board with such a great charity,” Cindy Graham, president of the ladies’ auxiliary, said. “We’ve almost emptied our tree [of Angels] and when we run out, I plan to go back up and pick up a handful more.”

Arnold said the experience is a rewarding way to give back, and Manna and the Salvation Army have received positive feedback from the community and those receiving help.

“When you know the effort is appreciated, it’s a fantastic feeling,” Arnold said. “Sometimes moms will come in and thank us, and it just makes you think. There’s always someone worse off.”

Angel Trees are currently set up at a variety of locations, including churches, banks and city offices.

The last day for dropping off items will be Dec. 12. For more information, contact Manna at 817-599-6569.

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