Woodward, Okla. —
THANKFUL FOR COMMUNITY SUPPORT
Providing these children with Christmas gifts is no small task, so all 3 organizations are appreciative of all those in the community who do their part to help.
"I'm proud of the banks and Elks Lodge for hosting our gift trees, as well as the community in general. Around this time of year they'll all start getting eager to help out. Everyone always responds to our cause so well," Cook said.
McDowell expressed similar appreciation, saying "Everyone's always very helpful."
Brown said in addition to the businesses hosting the gift trees, the local schools have also gotten involved to help in the effort.
"The Middle School will be lending a hand, wrapping gifts for the cause," he said. "And I'm fairly sure all 3 grade schools will be partnering to take up food gifts and clothing as they have in the past, and the high school usually takes up a monetary donation for us as well, so that helps out."
GENEROUS SHOPPERS NEEDED
However, Brown, McDowell and Cook said it is up to generous, kind-hearted members of the public to take the most important step and purchase gifts for the children.
That's why the 3 organizations have tried to make the gift donating process as seamless and hassle-free as possible through the use of gift trees.
Individuals can simply visit any of the aforementioned gift tree locations, and select an ornament off the tree which lists a child's gender and age, as well as an item the child would like to receive and possibly also a clothing size for the child.
Individuals then takes the child's information, buys a gift fitting the description, and returns it to the location of the tree for later collection by the appropriate agency.
In addition to being a simple process, Brown, Cook, and McDowell said the gift tree programs are an enjoyable and heartwarming experience.
"The gift drive is fun," Cook said. "It can get hectic towards Christmas, but I wouldn't trade it for anything; and the kids are always so appreciative."
McDowell cautions that without the public's help, some children might not even have a Christmas.
Brown echoed her sentiments, saying those who donate to the gift programs "ought to feel good giving to a child that won't have any Christmas otherwise. These are very needy children, and the families we take on are often single parents or grandparents raising grandchildren, but the main reason is to help a child have a Christmas."
The cut off deadlines for for the gift tree programs are quickly approaching. Those wanting to purchase gifts through either the DHS or Western Plains programs have only until Dec. 14 to drop off their donations.
However, the Merciful Angels' gift trees and donate