It’s a season full of decorations, family and giving – but it’s not always full of joy for those families who can’t afford Christmas.
Angel trees are full of wishes from East Tennessee children who, without your generosity, would go without Christmas morning.
What strikes a chord even more is taking a closer look at those wishes you’ll see it’s not all requests for games or toys.
“Sometimes they will wish for things children need, what they have to do, you’ll see shoes and socks, you’ll see underwear, lots of outfits,” said Sharon Pound, a volunteer with Angel Tree.
When the group first started back in the 1970s they had a mere 75 wishes. This season they’ll work to grant wishes to more than 4,000 children across East Tennessee. It’s been decades of success, all thanks to the help of our community.
“We did an estimate and figured about over those 43 years we’ve distributed 725,000 gifts, through the generosity of volunteers,” Pound said.
As for the volunteers, or “Santa’s elves” as they’re called, some of them, like the Halls High School cheerleading team have made this an annual tradition.
“It’s so great, you think about it and you don’t know how much you take for granted,” said Maggie Beeler, a Halls cheerleader. “And I just love how we know we help people so much.”
Pound says volunteers are always needed whether you want to help wrap gifts or adopt an angel of your own.
“We have some families who come in with bags full of toys, we have people come and say my son passed away when he was a child so I try and find a child his age and his name, so it really means a lot to people who participate,” she said.
It means even more to those families whose children will receive their wish.
“Just knowing that every child in Knoxville can have a exciting Christmas morning, something to look forward to, that’s a beautiful thing and I’m thrilled to be a part of it,” Pound said.
To learn more about The Knox County Angel Tree program, click here.