Season of Wishes: Junior Auxiliary Angel Tree provides gifts to children in need

Published 12:22 am Monday, November 27, 2017


NATCHEZ — The power of the Natchez Junior Auxiliary’s Angel Tree is in the joy on a child’s face — not just for a big toy — but also for a pair of shoes that fit or a pair of pants that are not torn.

“It is the smiles on their faces,” JA Angel Tree Chairman Lara Lee Saunders said Sunday as she and other JA members put up the tree Sunday afternoon. “These are kids that wouldn’t have a Christmas otherwise.”

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Each year the club decorates a Christmas tree in the lobby of Concordia Bank at 45 Seargent S. Prentiss Drive with paper angels. Each angel is marked with name, gender and age of a child in the Miss-Lou. Clothing sizes and a list of each child’s wishes for Christmas are also included.

Children age 16 months to 17 years are represented on the tree.

Those who wish to help sponsor an angel from the tree should go to the bank, choose an angel off the tree and then return with a present, Saunders said.

A JA member will be present during the bank’s regular business hours to help donors sign up for the program.

The bank lobby is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays.

The tree will be up for two weeks starting today. Gifts need to be brought to the bank lobby by the close of the business day on Dec. 8.

Those who donate to the program will be given a Christmas tree ornament to put on their tree as a symbol that they participated, Saunders said.

After the gifts are collected, JA will host a party for the children at the Canteen in Duncan Park. Children will get to take pictures with Santa, eat pizza and open presents.

JA Vice President Morgan Mizell said some of the most heart-warming stories come from the children who open the gifts each year.

One particular story of a child who opened his gift of a new pair of shoes is shared by club members, Mizell said.

The child had been wearing shoes that were too small, Mizell said.

“When he discovered he got shoes that fit him, he was so excited — the excitement you see in a kid’s face when they get a television or cellphone,” she said.  “It is really a very rewarding experience to see kids get their needs met and be appreciative.”

Mizell said the Angel Tree is important to Junior Auxiliary.

“It is a project close to our hearts because that is what we as Junior Auxiliary stand for,” she said. “We try to meet the needs of the underprivileged in our community.”