Assoc. Features Editor
Millersville University’s Volunteer Central and the Salvation Army of Lancaster are partnering to provide toys for children and their families during the holiday season through their annual Angel Tree Program.
“Last year, the Millersville University community provided 150 gifts to 75 children. This year we hope to provide 200 gifts to 100 children,” said Javita Thompson, Coordinator, and Community Service at Experiential Learning and Career Management’s (ELCM) Volunteer Central.
Angel Tree is a program of Prison Fellowship that reaches out to the children of inmates and their families. According to prisonfellowship.org 2.7 million American children are living lives that are filled with the abandonment, loneliness and shame that come from having a mom or dad in prison. For many of them, it may also include following their parents down the same destructive road to incarceration.
A sponsoring company or corporation places a Christmas tree in a secure, high traffic area or lobby. The tree is decorated with numbered paper Angel Tags with the first name, age and gender of the child who will receive the gift. Angel Tree Donors remove one or more tags from the Angel Tree and purchase appropriate gifts for the child or children on the tag or tags.
The toys are then delivered to The Salvation Army and later distributed to the child in time for the holidays. Thompson said, “Organizations, clubs, facility and staff are welcome to participate in Angel Tree. We would like to exceed our efforts from last year.”
If donating gifts is out of your price range this holiday season but you would like to get involved with the Salvation Army Thompson said, “The Salvation Army has all types of volunteer opportunities available. They are always looking for Bell Rings during this time of year. Throughout the year there are always clerical needs, such as help in sorting and packing food for families.”
Organizations and individuals in the Millersville area are encouraged to join in on providing a child with a happy holiday season by purchasing new toys and clothing, for children ranging in ages from newborn to 12 years old, whose families applied to the Salvation Army for assistance. If you or your organization would like to participate in Angel Tree, please contact ELCM at 717-872-3774 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteer Central will provide you with a tag that contains the child’s name, clothing size and suggested toy items. All gifts should be brought to ELCM, the third floor of Lyle hall, unwrapped with the tag you were provided, no later than 5 pm, Thursday, December 12th.