The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Angel Tree brings early holiday to NE

By Mario Montalvo/ne news editor

NE student Tim Sanchez has been on both ends of the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program — as a recipient and now as a donor.

Sanchez, 20, chose to adopt an angel, which helps a less fortunate child during the holidays, because he knows how it feels and how important it is for children to have Christmas, he said.

“Because of the Angel Tree program, I was able to open gifts every year,” Sanchez said. “Even though we all struggle, programs like this help you carry on and get on.”

Programs like the Angel Tree are vital to children’s futures, Sanchez said.

“By doing this around Christmas time, it just really keeps them on that normal life track,” he said. “It gives them that feeling of home.”

The Angel Tree, started in 1979 in Lynchburg, Va., got its name because the needs and wishes of local children were written on Hallmark greeting cards with pictures of angels and hung on the Christmas tree at a local mall.

Since then, the program has expanded across the country. With Angel Trees in shopping malls, churches and other local organizations, it makes it possible to bring Christmas to more than 50,000 local children and seniors each year, according to The Salvation Army’s website.

Sanchez’s most memorable Christmas was when he was 17 and received a Fender electric guitar, he said.

“It was the most exciting thing I’d ever gotten,” he said. “I’d asked for it several Christmases before, and I finally got it.”

Despite his past struggles, Sanchez maintains a positive outlook.

“The purpose of the program is to provide until things can get better,” he said. “And they will get better.”

Senior office assistant Natalie Guiter helps coordinate the Angel Tree on NE and said she has gotten to know Sanchez since he first participated in the program.

“He’s the kind of person that is very open, and he puts his feelings out there. And he is the same for other people,” she said. “He’s the kind of person that wants to help.”

The response from students and faculty has been greater than anticipated, said administrative assistant Shelly McLeod, who also helps coordinate the program on NE.

“When we were putting the angels up on the tree, we already had students coming up and looking at them and asking how to adopt,” she said. “We adopted 50 [angels], and those were gone in the first two weeks. Next year, we’ll adopt more.”

Jackets, tops and pants were some of the most requested needs for children this year, she said.

Dolls, toy cars and MP3 players for older kids were popular wishes.

Students or faculty who have already adopted angels must turn in gifts to Guiter or McLeod by 2 p.m. Dec. 5.

Angels can still be adopted in person at local shopping malls through Dec. 12 or online at www.salvationarmydfw.org through Dec. 11.

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