Adopting new measures for the angels

Community heavily involved in Adopt an Angel program despite pandemic

Senior+Emily+McGee+wraps+a+gift+for+LISD%27s+Adopt+an+Angel+program.

Bianca Lopez

Senior Emily McGee wraps a gift for LISD’s Adopt an Angel program.

LISD’s annual Adopt an Angel program, beginning on Dec. 1 and concluding on Dec. 17, is currently underway and has seen a record-number of adoptees this year. The on-going coronavirus pandemic has significantly increased demand for gifts, making involvement imperative like never before. 

Student Council officers, as well as other volunteers, work around the clock to ensure all recipients receive their gifts while prioritizing the safety of all participants. Senior class community service officer Alicia Rivera discussed the importance of following precautions throughout the gift-giving process.

“At first, we weren’t even sure if we were going to be able to have angel tree,” Alicia said. “However, we planned out angel tree with COVID guidelines. Everyone needs to be wearing a mask, our gift wrappers have to wear gloves and we all have to disinfect constantly so we know we are being safe and can continue helping our community at a time when they need us the most.”

The program has seen immense growth since its initiation in 2002. This year alone, the program has seen a total of 2,500 adoptees and 300 volunteers. Amidst limitations in physical participation, members of the city continue to find alternative ways to contribute.

“This program is the largest community effort we do,” student activities director Allison Stamey said. “Since we don’t have space due to COVID for community wrappers, we are hoping people can get involved by donating gift cards or extra toys for the ‘go-to’ store when we need extra items.”

The 18-year-old program, which targets families and individual students in need, often serves as a wake-up call for student volunteers. Throughout the process, students develop an outlook through which they can better understand the community they make up and the significance of their service. 

“I think some of the benefits of angel tree are that it gives some perspective to those who volunteer because the kids we help aren’t necessarily random people, they’re students in our school district,” junior class LISD liaison and community service officer Sophia Rivera said. “It’s especially heartbreaking for people who help check-in gifts or adopt angels because despite the angels being anonymous, we see notes next to their codes saying things like ‘This student is homeless’ or long lists of needed clothing items.” 

As the Adopt an Angel program nears its end, volunteers hope that even in the face of unprecedented circumstances, recipients feel the warmth of their fellow community members this holiday season.

 “The end goal of angel tree is to spread Christmas magic,” Alicia said. “At the end of the day, we want the people who [wouldn’t] have a Christmas gift to have one. What I’m most excited [about] regarding angel tree is waking up on Christmas morning knowing that over 2,500 kids woke up to Christmas presents. Knowing our community showed up during unexpected times really warms my heart.”