By Leigh Morris
For the Star-Gazette
Believing that no child should be forgotten at Christmas, members of Beardstown Emblem Club No. 474 will launch their annual Angel Tree this Friday.
The Emblem Club’s Angel tree program brightens the lives of children who may otherwise have no gifts to open. Beginning tomorrow, Angel Trees will be located in the lobbies of Beardstown Savings, First National Bank of Beardstown and West Central Bank.
Each tree will be decorated with angels on which a child’s age, gender and clothing sizes will be shown. Area residents are encouraged to select an angel, register their selection at the bank and then purchase clothing or toys appropriate for the described child. More than one angel may be selected. Donors should spend about $30 per child.
Gifts should not be wrapped, but rather placed in a gift bag and returned to the financial institution on or before Dec. 6. The gifts will be distributed to parents in mid-December so their children will have gifts on Christmas.
“We want every child in our community to have a wonderful Christmas,” said Connie Starkey, Emblem Club member and Angel Tree volunteer. “With the community’s help, we will.”
The Angel Tree initiative was created to help children in low income homes. Illinois’ persistent high unemployment rate and sluggish economy have made it more difficult for many families to meet their basic needs. As a result, children in these families face a dreary Christmas.
Starkey said the Angel Tree program is entirely a volunteer effort. It serves as an example that the people of this area come together to help neighbors in need.