Sterling's Angel Tree program brings holidays to kids

The goal of the Sterling Christmas Angel Tree program, says program chairman Shirley Lowe, is that no child in Sterling be without a present to open on Christmas morning. The Sterling Senior Center has headed the program for the last few years after local churches that usually front the program were no longer able to be as directly involved.

"I kind of just took it over when they said they needed someone to run it," says Lowe. "And it's been a privilege and a delight to be involved with the program."  

The senior center works together with local churches and elementary schools and various local organizations and businesses, like Fred Meyer and Love INC, to give gifts to underprivileged children in the Sterling area. The center receives toys, gloves and socks from people all over the community.

"The churches have been wonderful," adds Lowe. "They bring carloads of presents. It's really neat."

In addition to the toys, gloves and socks, the women of Wildwood Correctional Complex crochet hats and scarves for the kids with donated yarn, and residents also donate board games, candy and pot holders to be included in a gift for the whole family.

Residents looking to donate a present take an angel with the child's age and gender off of the senior center's angel tree after the tree goes up during the center's Christmas Bazaar on November 11. After the unwrapped gifts have been delivered to the senior center, volunteers wrap the presents over Thanksgiving weekend, and the gifts are later placed under the family's tree for Christmas morning.

Last year the program donated the most gifts ever: 207 were given to children in the Sterling community, and a remaining 200 hats and scarves to children in a Russian orphanage through SOAR International.

"I mean, that's 400 kids!" exclaims Lowe. "All from donated yarn. That to me is amazing. No way would this happen without everyone's help. We're very dependent on the community, and this is a very giving community. It's truly a blessing and a delight."

For information, call Shirley Lowe at 262-6808.

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