Angel Tree provides presents for families
By KATIE LEFEBVRE, Globe staff reporter
The Angel Tree project organized by Catholic Charities has been going on for several years to provide presents for families at Christmas.
Edith Rohde, intake finance coordinator at Catholic Charities in Sioux City, has been organizing the project since she started at Catholic Charities seven years ago.
At the end of October each year, Catholic Charities starts taking applications for Christmas presents. Applications are accepted for about two to three weeks from Catholic Charities clients, names sent in by parishes or people in the community.
“It is not advertized. It is by word of mouth,” said Rohde of the collection of names. “It has been this way for many, many years. About three percent (of the recipients) are our clients and the rest of the names are from the community.”
She said that between 500 and 550 people will receive Christmas gifts.
Churches, schools and individuals help with the project by donating gifts. Catholic Charities has a list of contacts that receive names and lists of presents each year.
“They call for how many families or people that they want,” said Rohde. “I send them all the information. They put the names on the tree and then they bring in gifts.”
This year gifts have come in from Blessed Sacrament, St. Michael’s, Sacred Heart and Bishop Heelan in Sioux City, St. Catherine-St. Mary’s in Remsen, other organizations and individual families. In all, Rohde said the list of donors goes on and on. She estimated that thousands of people donate to the project.
“It is a very large area of people coming together,” she said. “Many people are grateful that they (those donating) are able to help. Hopefully someday these people will be able to turn around and pay it forward and help someone else. Helping in the community helps every individual.”
When the gifts are brought in, they are wrapped with the age of the child written on the gift. For confidentiality reasons, the names of the children are not used.
“The gifts go out as fast as they come in,” said the organizer. The gifts range from bicycles and toys to laundry soap and hygiene items to clothes, blankets and other household items. The goal is to have one or two toys for each child.
Once Catholic Charities receives the gifts, they are organized and the individuals are contacted to come in to pick up them up for their families. Rohde said that she will probably continue to distribute gifts through Christmas Eve day.
“The need doesn’t shut off at five o’clock,” said Rohde. “Assistance is needed all the time. We are able to help families who have lost their jobs or are disabled. There are so many circumstances. The community pulls together to help out. If it happened to me, I know someone would be there for me because the community is so strong.”
She added that people can also help the families Catholic Charities serves through much appreciated prayers and financial contributions throughout the year.
“Your support helps our counselors help those we serve get back on track to a happier, healthier, more productive life. That is a gift that can last a lifetime,” said Rohde.
|Back to top|
|Headlines | Home|