Wednesday is the last day to make Christmas happier for some Columbia County children, said Sandra Martin, dean of housing at Southern Arkansas University.
As of Monday afternoon, a total of 157 angels were still available for adoption on the 2016 Angel Tree, which is located in the SAU Reynolds Center, room 218. People have until 5 p.m. Wednesday to come to the office and sponsor an angel. Those who cannot afford to adopt a whole angel or family are encouraged to give donations. Small monetary gifts will be matched with angels, Martin said, and “we will do the shopping for you.” Sponsors are encouraged to spend about $50 per child. The Housing office is open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
“It feels so good to make sure so many kids get a present for Christmas,” Martin said. “No one wants to think Santa doesn’t like them.”
Jennifer Ford, assistant director of housing for community development, said that a local company on Monday made a large donation of toys which will be matched with angels on the tree. She said she expects many more of the remaining angels to have sponsors by Wednesday.
More than 280 angels have been sponsored since the tree opened on Dec. 1, but the goal is to make Christmas as happy as possible for the families represented on the tree.
The Angel Tree serves children in need from infancy through high school seniors by providing sponsors with information about each child’s age, gender, sizes and gift requests. It also serves as an economic engine to the local economy. Even conservative estimates suggest that sponsors donate more than $40,000 in clothing, toys and electronics every year.
Since 2008, the Angel Tree has been at SAU. From 2008-2013, it was co-coordinated by two student organizations – Lambda Alpha Beta (the Chemistry Club) and Sigma Tau Delta (the English Honor Society). For the past three years, it has been headed up by University Housing at SAU. For several years prior to 2008, the Magnolia Housing Authority coordinated the county’s Angel Tree efforts.