Economic woes undermine Angel Tree giving |

Economic woes undermine Angel Tree giving

We all feel the effects of the struggling economy this year, which has been especially hard for many Grand County families. Christmas is an added stress for parents who are just trying to keep up with rent and bills.

The Angel Tree at Cooper Creek Square is a way to help those in need this holiday season. Cards hanging on the Angel Tree represent a child from families struggling financially and unable to provide any kind of Christmas presents this year. Warm clothes, boots, food, and some toys are the kinds of wishes that are asked for on each card. Citizens are asked to take a card and fulfill whatever gifts they’re able to.

“No gift is too small and every gift returned makes a difference to these families,” says Marie Hedrick, marketing director at Cooper Creek. “Each year there are more and more cards on the tree and the cards aren’t leaving the tree as fast as they have in the past; both possible signs that people are hurting.”

The Angel Tree began eight years ago as a way to help local children in the community during the holidays. Sponsoring agencies like Social Services, low income housing, churches, and childcare facilities provide information for the cards that go on the tree with the children’s “needs” and “wishes.” It’s completely anonymous with no names exchanged, an added benefit for those families who are too proud to ask for help.

“It’s a perfect way for a family or a business to do some holiday giving together,” says Hedrick. “And, there’s nothing that makes you feel the holiday spirit more than helping out those who need it.”

This year, over 200 cards were added to the tree, compared to 160 last year. Although many cards have been taken, there are still several remaining on the tree with the youngest children going first, leaving the teenagers dangling.

“The Angel Tree is really about locals helping locals,” says Ron Jones, managing partner of Cooper Creek Square. “This is a way for our community to make sure that these children receive something for the holidays.”

With Christmas quickly approaching, the need to fill the remaining cards is becoming more important with each day. The deadline for getting gifts back to Cooper Creek for Christmas delivery is Monday, Dec. 21. Cash donations are also accepted to make certain that each and every child with a card receives something from their list. Many Cooper Creek merchants donate items to supplement gifts as well.

Those interested can stop by the Angel Tree at Cooper Creek Square, located between Mountain Grind Coffee and Wild Horse Gourmet, or call 726-8891, ext 33 for more information.

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