Woodward, Okla. —
During this season of giving, several organizations have set up gift trees around the Woodward community.
Just about anywhere you turn you'll find an opportunity to brighten a needy child's Christmas through gift programs sponsored by the Department of Human Services (DHS), Merciful Angels Outreach, and Western Plains Youth and Family Services.
WHERE GIFT TREES CAN BE FOUND
Cheryl Cook, administrative tech with Child Welfare Services, said, "DHS has gift trees set up at all the banks as well as the Elks Lodge."
Tom Brown is an administrator with Merciful Angels Outreach, a group that's been aiding the needy since 2003. Brown said, "We have a small tree at Atwoods again this year, as well as Browns, Sharpe's, and Competition Sports on Main Street. We've also got donation boxes set up at both United Supermarkets and Walmart where we'll accept new toys, clothes, and food donations."
Sarah McDowell, shelter director at Western Plains Youth, said "We have trees set up at Stage, Walls, Dr. Yadon's office, as well as the offices of Dr. Phillips, Dr. Tevebaugh, Dr. Hunter, Dr. Kirkendall, High Plains Technology Center, the Woodward Library, Northwestern Oklahoma State University campus, Cherlyn's Style Shoppe, and Choice Physical Therapy."
TOGETHER 3 AGENCIES TO HELP MORE THAN 300 CHILDREN
While there may seem to be an abundance of donation sites, there is also an abundance of need.
Cook said that DHS has around 64 children that benefit from its gift tree program, ranging in age anywhere from babies to teenagers. McDowell said Western Plains Youth and Family Services has another roughly 50 kids of all ages to provide gifts for.
Brown said the Merciful Angels are looking to help provide food and gifts to "nearly 245 school students" this Christmas who are classified as homeless. This is for children whose families are not in their own homes, but may be living out of a hotel, staying with relatives, in a shelter, living in a home with multiple families, or some other transient type of living situation.
"We also try to make sure that when we take a food basket to family we're helping out that we give each child in that family 3 gifts," Brown said. "We always try to get each child 3 gifts, we never know if we'll be able meet that goal or not, but thats what we try to do."