Aledo Children’s AdvoCats is a non-profit led by women volunteers that are dedicated to helping children and families with their unmet needs in the Aledo area and is once again holding its Angel Project.
The AdvoCats Angel Project organizes Christmas gifts for qualified Aledo ISD students and siblings who reside in the same home, according to the organization’s website. The project is a collaborative effort between the organization, Aledo ISD and the community.
“AdvoCats are right in the middle of their Angel Project, so we have had applications or requests turned in for 367 students or children and that’s a large number,” Aledo ISD board of trustee Julie Turner said at the Monday board meeting. “We have 200 volunteers, which is enough to cover those 367 because most volunteers take a family.”
AdvoCats Board President Penny Shelton said as far as she knows, the organization has been doing the Angel Project for 18 years.
“It’s grown immensely over the years as our district and our needs have grown. It is an opportunity for the community to purchase gifts for Aledo ISD children and their siblings that reside in the home at Christmas time,” Shelton said. “We work directly with the school counselors at all 10 schools to identify kids that they think would benefit from the Angel Project. It’s for any children in need and their siblings, so sometimes that could be ongoing if they need financial help throughout the year, or it could be a situation where it’s a loss of job temporarily or a home fire or just any financial struggles.”
Shelton said families will fill out wish lists from the counselors and the lists are picked up by AdvoCats where shoppers are matched to each family.
This year’s drop-off location will be at the Emergency Services District 1 Aledo Fire Station on Bailey Ranch Road.
“I actually came in doing Angel Project, that was my first time on the board, and I just feel like it’s an opportunity for kids to have a Christmas whereas they may not be able to otherwise because families may not be able to provide the gifts,” Shelton said. “I just feel like every kid should have a good Christmas despite their circumstances, so if we as a community can come together and purchase gifts to make that kid have a great Christmas, it’s just a great way to bless a child.”
Aledo Children’s AdvoCats was established in 2002 and since that time has donated more than $900,000 to the Aledo community.
“They’re still collecting wrapping supplies and people are adding more each day, so the AdvoCats are continuing to do great work supporting the children in Aledo ISD,” Turner said.
Shelton said the community can help several ways.
“You can make a monetary donation, you can volunteer to shop by emailing us or you can volunteer to do gift wrapping for us because we like to provide the families with gift wrapping or they can volunteer to help us at the shopper drop-off,” Shelton said. “So there are several ways. I have a real heart for this project and I just want to make sure that every child doesn’t go without something to open on Christmas Day.”