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Giving wings to fly

Angel Tree to deliver presents Friday, Dec. 14

Donations+for+Angel+Tree+are+to+be+distributed+to+the+angels+on+Friday%2C+Dec.+14.
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Giving wings to fly

Donations for Angel Tree are to be distributed to the angels on Friday, Dec. 14.

Donations for Angel Tree are to be distributed to the angels on Friday, Dec. 14.

Photo by Valerie Benzinger

Donations for Angel Tree are to be distributed to the angels on Friday, Dec. 14.

Photo by Valerie Benzinger

Photo by Valerie Benzinger

Donations for Angel Tree are to be distributed to the angels on Friday, Dec. 14.

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This year Student Council will be hosting the 16th annual Angel Tree. Created by Student Council adviser Allison Stamey in 2002, Angel Tree is a district-wide project where students in the district feeder pattern can be provided with gifts for the holidays. The students are entered into the Angel Tree program by school counselors, teachers, parents and Communities In Schools workers. Stamey created this program to give students whose families struggle financially more positive holiday experiences. Anyone in the community is welcome to donate or help Student Council members wrap or deliver presents.

“We wrap presents, play holiday music, bond and have a great time with our community, but my favorite part is when everything is ready to go and we see thousands and thousands of wrapped presents and bags with our angel numbers,” Stamey said. “Then we start taking them out to deliver them to the schools knowing what’s going to happen with those children, that’s what makes me the happiest.”

Topping the number of angels they’ve had in the past, there are currently about 1,350 angels ranging from newborns to 19 year olds with about 350 angels who are still available to adopt through the online sign-up. Student Council is focusing on trying to get all of the remaining angels adopted.

“I do want to try and help as many people as I can but the hardest part is when we have so many [angels],” Stamey said. “We have deadlines and you want to help others but you really have to stick to [the] deadline to make sure [all angels] get adopted.”

While other organizations and charities hold similar events as Angel Tree, gifts donated to some of these groups might not always go directly to the child in need. Gifts may be resold or put in a store to be purchased with vouchers handed out to parents. Because Stamey disagrees with the process, she set out to create her own program that would ensure kids would receive their presents.

“In 2002, I went to the mall and got angels off the tree,” Stamey said. “When I left, I noticed there were three more packages in the back of my seat so when I went back in there, the workers were ripping the wrapping paper off and putting it in their store. That next year I said ‘OK, we’re going to start our own Angel Tree and we’re going to do it right.’”

Parents, teachers and students can bring in unwrapped gifts or gift cards to be delivered to angels on Friday, Dec. 14. People are also welcome to come help wrap presents with the community at Valley Creek Church starting Tuesday, Dec. 4.

“It’s not just gifts – you should give back,” senior community service officer Yesenia Regalado said. “It’s not necessarily materialistic. You can just give back through helping out and I think a lot of people should do that during this time and reflect what we have [and] see what others don’t have.”

With deadlines approaching, Student Council works hard to get all of the presents wrapped and ready to be delivered. Although officers are stressed about the process, the reward of providing kids the joy of receiving a gift makes it all worth it.

“Even though it’s a lot of work, it’s a lot of fun,” senior student body historian Jackie Hernandez said. “All of us that go feel the same way and they know that everything they’re doing is going to be for a good cause.”

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