By Emma Stone
The gift of giving has struck the citizens of Ruston as the Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home put up its annual Christmas angel tree at Walmart.
The angel tree is covered with pieces of paper serving as ornaments containing children’s names along with their Christmas list. Families can pick the gender and age of a child they would like to sponsor and buy their presents. It allows even those in need to celebrate the holidays.
While the first angel tree was introduced as an idea in 1979, Majors Charles and Shirley White provided clothing for children in need at the Lynchburg, Virginia, shopping mall.
The White family would attach Hallmark greeting cards with pictures of angels and the name of children for shoppers to sponsor. Since then, angel trees became more than just an idea and have been incorporated as part of the Christmas season even in Ruston.
The tradition continues in 2021 as the Donor Relations Manager for the Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home Emory Bray said, “Angel trees help 85 kids in Ruston with ages ranging from 11 to 17.”
With presents constantly being received during the holidays, Bray said, “It’s nice to see the community come together for a greater cause.”
Not only are families helping sponsor children who are a part of the angel tree, but college students are actively contributing as well.
Kennedy Ford, a student at Louisiana Tech, picked out a child to sponsor and bought them an action figure as well as a jacket.
“I was surprised to see that the child I had chosen was asking for a jacket,” Ford said. “I recognized that I had taken simple things like owning a nice winter coat for granted.”
For some children, the presents from the angel tree will provide them warm clothes, necessities, toys and so much more.
Michael Garriga, the communications coordinator for Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home, said, “Kids look forward to the angel tree every year, because families care deeply for these children.”
With Christmas just around the corner, the Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home employees hope that each child’s name will be selected from the angel tree at Wal Mart.
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