Angel Tree helps families have a joyous Christmas

Published 8:40 pm Monday, December 27, 2010

Thanks to hundreds of angels in Polk County, at least 1,000 people will have something better than a bleak Christmas this year.

Working under the umbrella of the Thermal Belt Outreach Ministry Angel Tree Gift program, a community-wide effort has assured that more than 330 families will have toys for children and food for the holidays. &bsp;

The cooperative effort including volunteers from churches, businesses, civic clubs and government agencies produced thousands of toys, items of clothing and food. Angel tree gifts were also distributed to the elderly.

Family packages were assembled by volunteers at the Cooperative Extension Services 4-H Center, where the family gifts were distributed on Friday, Dec. 10.

The Salvation Army assisted the Outreach pantry by providing boxes of nonperishable food items along with a gift card to purchase meat of the familys choice to round out their holiday dinner. Each family received a blanket donated by Pure Country Weavers.

We are grateful for the tremendous outpouring of generosity that has enabled us to supplement gifts given to families by the sheriffs office, Cathys Kids and foster children served by the Department of Social Services Foster Care program. Contributions to our Christmas Fund, which supplemented the Angel Tree gifts and food items not provided by the Salvation Army, came from the generous donations of community members, said Carol Newton, the chief operating officer at Thermal Belt Outreach Ministry (TBOM).

Some of the contributions came from 65 Polk Central kindergarten students who came to bring gifts for needy families. Santa Claus also was present.

Newton had special praise for volunteers from the Kiwanis Club, Timken, The Meeting Place, James Tool, local police departments, probation officers, the North Carolina Highway Department and TBOM for their assistance during the distribution, which worked to ensure that each child in the recipient families received two toys each.

Qualified families began making application for the special Christmas program in September at the TBOM offices.

The Angel Tree project is a true reflection of the Christmas spirit, Newton said.