The Christmas season is about making dreams come true for many of the young at heart.
Sometimes that dream is made difficult by circumstances beyond the control of family members and neighbors, but luckily that’s where Manna, “Santa’s Helpers,” along with the Parker County Salvation Army, step in. For more than 20 years the two groups have combined efforts for their annual Angel Tree program and this year is no different.
“We are the only official, county-wide Christmas program, of this type,” publicity coordinator Janice Smith said. “We distribute Angels to as many places that will take them for their own Angel Tree.”
She said last year a little more than 700 Angels were adopted by individuals, leaving Manna to adopt and purchase gifts for the remaining Angels, which accounted for about half of the original 1,500 requested.
“We then take the support given by the Salvation Army and other funds that are donated and purchase gifts for the remaining Angels,” Smith said.
Manna Santa’s Helpers recommend the purchase of one or two articles of clothing and a new toy, spending approximately $50 per child.
On Dec. 6, the “Stuff the Bus” event will take place again at Weatherford ISD. A school bus acting as Santa’s sleigh will go to WISD schools to collect toys.
Additionally, First Financial Bank, one of many business instutions participating in the Angel Tree Program, will have a live broadcast with KTFW Hank FM 92.1 for a Toy Drive at their College Park location at 101 College Park. The banks Mobil Entertainment Unit, the “weiner wagon,” will be on site serving hotdogs, chips and drinks for everyone who drops off a new toy on Dec. 10 from 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Elizabeth McGee, Assistant Vice-President with First Financial Bank, said it naturally makes her feel “awesome” because of what the Christmas season is all about.
“It’s about Christ, His love for us and giving,” she said. “He says to love they neighbor as thyself and doing things like this makes the season meaningful.”
She said it should not be the commercialism seen starting before folks have a chance to be thankful at Thanksgiving.
“Christmas is about kindness, love, taking time to ask how are you and actually listening and caring, a smile, a touch and more importantly a quick prayer to make someone’s day better,” she said.
The employees of the Mader-Bagley State Farm Agencyare not strangers to giving back. For more than 20 years employees have contributed to a fund they call the “Needy Neighbor Fund.”
“The employees of the agency have always felt the desire to give back to the Parker County community,” Kim and Craig and Bagley said. “So, we started the Needy Neighbor Fund.”
“It is such a joy to give back to the community that has given so much to us,” the Bagley’s said.
Those interested in adopting an Angel will need to do so before the final drop-off date of Dec. 10 at the following locations: The Weatherford Police Dept., First Financial Bank, all locations; BBVA Compass Bank Downtown and Hudson Oaks; First National Bank; Plains Capital Bank; Texas Bank; Legacy Bank; Mader Bagley Insurance; Jacy Guynes Insurance; Teskeys; the Lake Weatherford Marina; Reflections Salon; Jennz Salon; Parker County Physical Therapy; Fit for Life Gym; Wally’s Party Factory; Center of Hope; and Manna.