JA gives wings to Angel Tree project

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 3, 2009

NATCHEZ — The thought of a child waking up Christmas morning with no brightly wrapped packages to open is intolerable for the Natchez Junior Auxiliary.

On Tuesday, members unveiled their 23rd Angel Tree in the lobby of Concordia Bank & Trust, 45 Seargent S. Prentiss Drive, where 150 angel ornaments bearing the name, age and gender of underprivileged children hang from the branches.

People select an angel ornament from the tree, purchase and wrap a gift, and return the gift to the tree with the angel ornament attached.

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Angel ornaments will be available in the bank lobby until Dec. 11. Lobby hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday. The deadline to return gifts and angel ornaments to the bank is 5 p.m. Dec. 11.

Each person who returns a gift will receive a keepsake ornament from Junior Auxiliary, said member Melissa Findley.

In years past, the Angel Tree has been bare due to community contributions. Findley hopes for the same conclusion this year.

“We always get rid of all our angels and we always get them back,” Findley said. “Hopefully people will come empty our tree very quickly.”

Findley said the generosity of the Miss-Lou community is truly valued by the Junior Auxiliary, remembering a lone contributor from last year.

“It was the last day and we had 30 (angel ornaments) left on the tree,” Findley said. “One man came in and asked how many we had left. We said 30, and he wrote us a check for $900. I cried all afternoon. It was wonderful.”

Findley said Catholic Charities and the Department of Human Services each provide a list of children for the Angel Tree. The Junior Auxiliary delivers the gifts to the respective organizations, which then distributes the gifts to the children’s families.

Findley said projects such as Angel Tree are needed to heighten the spirit of the season.

“I cannot imagine a child not having something on Christmas … something that makes them happy,” Findley said.

“We are very thankful for our community because they have been very supportive, and it’s been a blessing to see so many people give.”