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Fellow students, faculty give to Heritage Angel Tree

MADISON – Student families, faculty and staff at Heritage Elementary School are proving that ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive’ with their contributions to the Heritage Angel Tree.

The Angel Tree is a tradition at Heritage . . . “so that our people are getting to help our people,” School Counselor Casey Gaines said. The tree “provides holiday support for Heritage families in need. Our families look forward to contributing each year.”

Parents or guardians of Heritage families in need can list “a want, a need, something to wear and something to read for their children,” Gaines said. “All children are anonymous with no identifying information listed.”

Heritage gift-givers can access an online spreadsheet that lists each family and child (for example, “Family A: Boy #1”). The “Need” for the child, like school clothes and shoes, appears in one column, as does the “Want” for him or her, such as yo-yos, a skateboard or “anything Spiderman.”

The spreadsheet also states the child’s sizes for clothing and shoes; requested reading material, like Harry Potter selections, “Pete the Cat” books or a Bible; favorite color; and age. The sponsor then completes contact information.

Sponsors can sign up for one individual or for an entire family on the Heritage Angel Tree. At their discretion, sponsors can buy a child’s requested gifts or buy as many extra gifts as they want.

Gaines has seen a consistent need for winter clothes and accessories from each family that returned their form. These families, although living in a well-to-do community like Madison, need the basics of everyday living.

“I personally believe that, due to the fact that Madison is an affluent community, it has greatly impacted our partnerships with community members and our accessibility to resources needed in order to assist our families in need,” Gaines said.

“There’s less of a publicized need for families in our town and community to seek assistance elsewhere, because we have strong partnerships with local businesses and organizations that provide these resources for us behind the scenes,” Gaines said.

Recipients’ ages range from 7 months to 15 years old, most likely a student’s siblings.

By the Dec. 14 deadline, Heritage sponsors will deliver unwrapped gifts to the Heritage front office. Sponsors also will include a roll of wrapping paper, tape and ribbons so recipient adults can wrap the gifts themselves.

Gaines and Jamie Ratcliffe, also a school counselor, have been coordinating the Heritage Angel Tree.

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