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Season of Wishes: Angel Tree helps children, seniors

NATCHEZ — COVID-19 has necessitated a few changes for the Junior Auxiliary of Natchez’s Angel Tree program this year, an organizer said.

For starters, this year due to COVID-19 concerns the tree has been moved from its usual place in the lobby of Concordia Bank and Trust on Seargent S. Prentiss Drive to the Natchez Coffee Company on Franklin Street where it has been since Nov. 29.

Secondly, Junior Auxiliary Member, former president and current treasurer, Chassity Cannon, said she has seen a decline in the number of people seeking help for Christmas this year through the Angel Tree application process that ended Nov. 17.

That said, 75 people signed up by the deadline to benefit from the Angel Tree program this year, Cannon said.

“Last year we started adding elderly to our tree,” Cannon said, adding she is not sure how many of the 75 angels on this year’s tree are elderly. “We have a lot of widowed or single elderly that have no family.”

Cannon said Junior Auxiliary members are encouraging people to support the elderly Angel Tree members because many of them are homebound and are in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They ask for very little,” Cannon said. “You can buy a search word book and that tickles them to death. It lets them know they are not alone.”

As for younger Angels, Cannon said the COVID-19 pandemic has changed what many of the children are asking for.

“It has forced families to gather together for meals, and many are being homeschooled and having more interaction with one another, more conversations,” Cannon said. “They are staying home. We are seeing a huge decrease in the amount of applications coming in because they are home together. More kids go outside to play and find other things to do — not focused on wanting electronic things indoors. We have seen an increase in requests for things such as board games, which were rare in the past.”

For people who may still be in need this Christmas, Cannon said they could contact her by text or call at 601-870-0195 or contact Morgan Groover by text or call at 601-597-8244. If no one answers, leave a voicemail and it will be returned, Cannon said.

“Our tree is only up until Friday, Dec. 11,” Cannon said, adding people should adopt an Angel from the tree at the Natchez Coffee Company, 509 Franklin St., at the latest by Wednesday, Dec. 9. “All packages must be returned by 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11. As always if someone wants to make a monetary donation we will take those. In the event that we have angels not adopted from tree, the JA ladies will take angels and try to get items for them.”

Also, if someone buys more than one gift for an Angel, Cannon said, they should be sure to mark the recipient’s name on the gifts.

Monetary donations are welcome, Cannon said. Checks should be made out to Junior Auxiliary and mailed to P.O. Box 1592, Natchez, MS 39121.

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