December 26, 2007 Edition

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Angel Tree Project
is last minute success

Gloria Wilkerson
TD Staff

Christmas wishes were granted for 416 angels representing 180 Lawrence County families, according to Judy Videll of the Department of Human Services, who helps coordinate the Angel Tree Project.

The Angel Tree is a community effort supported by area businesses, churches and schools and staffed by volunteers who assist with the project. Videl said some businesses even send employees to distribute angels while on company time.

While the project has received considerable support throughout the years, there are sometimes fears that all the needs will not be met.

This year angels were chosen from the tree in the Lawrence County Courthouse for10 days, but almost half the angels remained on the tree on the last day.

"We don't normally have that many left by the last day, but the last two years have been more trying than years past," Videll said.

"With everyone's hectic schedules during the holiday season, they wait too long to choose angels," Videll said. "On the last day, with over 200 angels remaining on the tree, our committee began making calls to churches, businesses and individuals to ask for help. In addition to word of mouth, radio station KRLW was a great help by reminding people to stop by and chose one or more angels. Team work pulled us through."

"By the end of the day only 25 angels were left on the tree. It was amazing to go from that many angels to so few at the last minute."

According to Videll, those who do not wish to buy gifts themselves make donations to the project's gift fund. Angels not chosen from the tree receive gifts bought with those funds.

The gifts were distributed on Dec. 18 at the old Cole Furniture building. Debi Hart, Tina Stowers, Daina Witt and Keith Ellison sorted all the gifts for each family, and Witt and Stowers distributed them.

Videll said she would like to give special credit to the Walnut Ridge and Hoxie schools second-grade classes who decorate the tree each year with ornaments they make themselves. "I especially love the fact that two feet of the tree from the bottom up is beautifully decorated by the children," she said.

Individuals can make donations towards next year's project by contacting Videll or the county clerk's office.

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