Archive for Thursday, November 30, 2006

Angel trees spread message of holiday charity

November 30, 2006

Helping a family in need this year is as easy as taking an ornament off of a Christmas tree.

The Eudora Lions Club and HP Pelzer Automotive System Inc. joined together to spread angel trees throughout the community. The angel trees are Christmas trees hung with paper angels, which offer a chance for local residents to buy gifts for families in need.

"We decided to team together to make a good program great," Eudora Lions Club member Cheryl Beatty said.

The combined program expands what was once the Mayor's Christmas Tree Fund and a family adoption program started by HP Pelzer.

When Beatty arrived to Eudora as city administrator, she recommended the city cut its official ties to the Christmas tree fund. The Lions Club picked it up in the city's stead and delivered food baskets to the less fortunate last year.

When Beatty started looking into this year's drive, she discovered HP Pelzer's program and the combination seemed a natural fit.

"It really expands what was started with the Mayor's Christmas Tree Fund last year into something larger and better," Beatty said.

The angel trees will help 33 families and 80 children this year.

All the donations will go to local families in Eudora, Beatty said.

"It's going to be really good. It's exciting," Beatty said.

Both HP Pelzer's adopt-a-family program and the Mayor's Christmas Tree Fund formerly worked from cash donations. This year, the two groups chose the different angle of using paper angels to help spread the holiday cheer.

The trees are filled with angels each representing a child from a less fortunate family. On the back of the angel is the child's age. To take part, a person removes the angel from the tree and purchases an age-appropriate gift (other than clothing) for whoever is listed on the paper. The donor should then drop the package unwrapped either to Eudora City Hall, 4 East Seventh St., or the HP Pelzer offices at 1201 Cardinal Drive in the Intech Business Park.

Both locations will also accept cash donations for toys.

"We're really excited about getting the community more involved," Beatty said.

The drive could also help people get more into the spirit of the holidays, she said.

Rhonda Rowell works on HP Pelzer's end of the drive. So far she has seen its success.

The feedback from the families has been great, she said.

"They're just so appreciative, so grateful," Rowell said.

The angel trees are at Eudora City Hall, 4 East Seventh St., Kaw Valley Bank, 739 Main St., Byrne's Pharmacy, 101 W. 10th St., Mutual Savings, Eighth and Main streets, and C&S Market, 1402 Church St.

For more information, call Beatty at 542-4111 or Rowell at 542-5700, ext. 261.

"It's just nice to know that the kids aren't going to go without," Rowell said.

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