Season of Wishes: Junior Auxiliary continues tradition of helping children

Published 12:19 am Tuesday, November 27, 2018


NATCHEZ — Since 1950, ladies of the Natchez Junior Auxiliary have acted as wish-granting angels in Natchez to children — and now adults — who may not otherwise have a merry Christmas.

Junior Auxiliary President, Chassity Cannon, said the organization has changed up the way they served the community since the Natchez chapter was founded nearly 70 years ago while holding to the same values as always.

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For approximately 25 years, The Angel Tree made its annual appearance to help local children from low-income families — and now it includes the names of elderly people in the community with limited mobility and no living relatives to celebrate Christmas with, Cannon said.

“We will actually go out to their houses and hand deliver these gifts,” she said. “We’re trying to touch each person in our community so that no one is alone this Christmas.”

The Angel Tree is the Junior Auxiliary’s most popular project, Cannon said.

The tree sits in Concordia Bank & Trust on Sergeant Prentiss Drive and is decorated with angel ornaments with the names of children and elderly citizens of Natchez, along with their Christmas wishes.

Cannon said the tree was set up and decorated last Sunday, and now anyone can come by during normal banking hours and select whichever ornament they’d like to help grant the wishes written on them.

In previous years, Cannon said the Junior Auxiliary would partner with other organizations to locate different children in the community with needs. However, three years ago the ladies began to seek those children out for themselves, and Cannon said she didn’t expect the heart-wrenching moments that accompanied the task.

“This economy has put a strain on everyone,” Cannon said. “We have a lot of children who are homeless and many (parents) without jobs or any other source of income. … When I heard these children say that they wanted a coat for Christmas or a pair of shoes, it broke my heart.”

Cannon said in addition to the children’s wishes, the ornaments also include clothing sizes.

“Most children need or want clothes, and some ask for bicycles, baby dolls or remote controlled cars,” she said. “This year, there were a lot of wishes for diapers or pull-ups as well. … Just because a child comes from a low-income family, they still want toys just like any other child they go to school with. … You can’t judge a child or their family without knowing their circumstances.”

Cannon said the deadline to bring gifts to Concordia Bank is noon Friday, Dec. 7.

For more information regarding the Angel Tree, contact Chairperson Lara Lee Saunders at 601-431-2550, Cannon at 601-442-7061 or leave a voicemail at 601-870-0195.