Angels all around

Christmas time is here. There are busy shoppers rushing around crowded stores and people decorating. There are children writing letters to Santa, and people hoping for snow for sledding. Then of course, there are those who are thinking, “What do I want for Christmas?” “ Will I get it?” And how mad they are going to be if they do not get it. All of the typical thoughts are fine and dandy, but not the real reason for the season.

By Jessica Rhodes

Christmas is supposed to be a time of giving, and while giving your best friend that amazing Aeropostale shirt they want is great, that’s not necessarily what it means. Christmas should be a time of giving to the less fortunate, helping your fellow man and trying to help someone who’s been down on their luck have a little more. Volunteering is a wonderful way of helping others especially in the season of giving.

Senior Stephanie Hargrave said, “I volunteered at a soup kitchen.”

She decided on this form of charity because she likes to see and meet different people.

“My most memorable act of charity was when I went on a mission trip to Myrtle Beach,” Hargrave said.

She feels she has really made a difference when she sees how much people appreciate the work she has done. It makes her feel good and she plans to do more charity in the future.

“Volunteering makes me feel like I have done something,” Hargrave said.

An example of a very worthwhile charity would be the Angel Tree program. Mary Kay Beard, an ex-prisoner who turned her life around, founded this program three decades ago.

Angel Tree is a program designed to bring hope to those who feel they have none. With what she has done today not many would believe she was a bank robber who wielded a shotgun and could crack safes with the best of them.

She was paroled in 1982, and asked to create a Christmas program for prisoners.

When she was in prison she saw many inmates give tiny things such as soaps, or shampoo as gifts. To her surprise the children of the inmates were really excited to receive these presents and that was how her idea was born.

Mary cut out 100 paper angels and then asked prisoners to sign up their children.

“God never wastes anything,” said Kay. “He used my own criminal past to give me credibility.”

The response to Angel Tree was so big that she went to other prisons and put out even more angel trees.  That year 556 children got presents, according to angeltree.org.

The following year Angel Tree was in 12 states and becoming a church program. Now today’s Angel Tree is not only in every state in the U.S. but also in 90 other countries.

For those interested in volunteering some other causes include operation Christmas child. This is where a person would fill a shoebox with presents and a message of love and good wishes. Toys for Tots where people could donate old unwanted toys to a child in need. The Make a Wish Foundation is also a program to join. This one lets a person help make a child’s wish come true.

With all these organizations and more out there hopeful a lot of holiday cheer and love will be spread around.

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