Number of local Angel Tree kids exceeds ability to meet need

By: Terry Harris | Email: Click Here
Posted: December 15, 2018 | 3:45 p.m.

SUSSEX – “Some people have been so generous already,” said Tia Sanchez, head of the Sussex County DSS Angel Tree project. “But at this point, although the collection time was supposed to be over last week, we still have about 75 kids who I’m afraid won’t have anything under the tree this Christmas.  There’s just not been enough – yet – to help them all.”

Sanchez explained that with over 300 children in Sussex County living at or below the poverty level, the need is truly great.

“The Board of Supervisors provided $3,000 which was a huge help,” Sanchez said. “And after the last article alerting people to the need, we received another $1,200 for Angel Tree Gifts.  One woman even brought her little four-year-old granddaughter in and had her hand us a hundred dollars herself, saying she wants to teach the child how important it is to help other people who just don’t have as much as she does.”  

“These kids are from all over Sussex County, and parents fill out the ‘Angel list’ with clothing sizes for their children,” Sanchez said, explaining how Angel Tree works.  “And it will break your heart that one of the most most-requested gifts is a winter coat to keep their child warm. It’s nearly all clothes really. They’re just allowed to list one toy – one thing that the child really, really wants. Once the gifts come in, the parents pick them up while their kids are at school and wrap them, to feel at least a part of  providing something from Santa.”   

“We have 35 hams donated by Gwaltney that we will distribute to some of those 75 families so that they will at least have a Christmas dinner,” she added. “Because so many families won’t have even that.  But please let people know that it is not too late to help those remaining 75 boys and girls have at least a small something under the tree on Christmas morning.  Anyone who wants to help make a child’s Christmas can call me at 434-246-1059, or drop off any size donation at the DSS office – 20103 Princeton Road, Stony Creek.  We had hoped to have this done last week so we could get the distribution set, but it’s still possible that, with the help of the community, the kids may at least get a small something for Christmas.”

Sheriff Giles, who participates in the Angel Tree project every year, added his encouragement to the community to get involved and help.  

“The Angel Tree is very important,” Giles said.  “We are lacking for resources in  Sussex County, and there just are a lot of kids being left out at Christmas because of families with low income jobs doing the best they can.  All it would take would be just a couple of dollars from everyone to put a smile on the face of a child.  And I truly believe that’s the greatest Christmas gift we can give.” 

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