Sometimes during the Christmas season, even Santa needs a little bit of help.
The Rolla Area Chamber of Commerce has teamed up with Pathways, the Phelps County Child Advocacy Network and the Healthy Families program to make Christmas for some area children a little brighter by sponsoring an Angel Tree. This is the fifth year the Rolla Chamber of Commerce has participated in the Angel Tree program.
Angel cut-outs with wish lists from area children are hung around the tree at the visitor’s center. Each of the angels lists clothing sizes and an idea of what the child likes.
Of the 165 angels that were initially dropped off, 95 still need to be adopted.
“Christmas is about the kids,” said Aimee Campbell, tourism director. “It is difficult for kids to understand why they didn’t get any presents for Christmas when everyone else in their class did. If we don’t do the Angel Tree, all those children would miss out.”
Campbell said there is more need this year than she has seen in the past. She added that children are asking for necessities — coats, gloves, hats, socks — not just toys and games. In addition to fulfilling the requests for necessities, people will often donate toys and games, even if the children don’t ask for them.
“It’s sad when what children are asking for are warm coats and necessities,” said Campbell. “It is really nice to see the outpouring of support from the community. People go above and beyond.”
So what happens if the angels don’t get adopted?
“You’ll see our desperate cries in the last week,” said Campbell.
She said that generous community members and business owners always step forward in the last days to fulfill the children’s wishes at the last minute, rather than letting the kids go without.
“By the end, all of the children get adopted,” said Campbell. “That’s why donations are so important.”
If you are interested in helping a child by adopting an angel, you can stop by the Rolla Visitor’s Center for a list, or drop off an monetary donation or gift card to an area store. Angels and gifts need to be returned to the visitor’s center no later than noon Friday, Dec. 14. Ages of children in need of help range from a few months to 18-years-old. Cash donations are helpful, as well as gift cards in any amount.
If you have any questions, call the Chamber of Commerce at (573) 364-3577.