The annual holiday toy drive is underway and children’s wish lists can be found on Angel Trees at several locations on White Sands Missile Range.
About 70 angels remain on the trees, but the community has always stepped up to fulfill every request placed on the trees in the past.
“It’s a very joyous time,” said Damaris Powe, Holiday Helping Hands coordinator.
This year, 118 families applied for assistance during the holidays. In total, the angel trees will be helping 162 children from the WSMR community.
“We’ve never had a year where angels haven’t been picked. They have always all been picked and the kids are so appreciative of what they’ve been getting,” said Army Community Services Director Patsy Gomez.
Angel Trees can be found at the Post Exchange, Building 100, and the 2nd Engineer Battalion Headquarters building.
The trees are adorned with paper angels colored in by children and have the boy’s or girl’s age, clothing size, and wish list on the back.
The gifts can be dropped off at ACS Building 250 by Dec. 15. Items, with the paper angels attached, should be unwrapped or placed in bags to allow parents to see the gifts are appropriate for their children.
The 2nd Engineer Battalion supported the toy drive last year and is expected to do the same this year on the toy drive deadline Dec. 15.
“Last year, each Soldier brought a backpack full of toys. We are looking forward to it,” Powe said.
According to Gomez, the project is very large and time consuming.
“It takes the right person with the right heart. It is not just a task. We work hard to try to meet every need so families can have as joyous a holiday season as possible,” Gomez said.
As coordinator, Powe sorts the gifts and makes sure each child in the family receives the same number of gifts. She also tracks the families when the gifts have been sorted.
As part of the Holiday Helping Hands program, families receive non-perishable foods and a $50 food voucher for the commissary in addition to children’s gifts.
The deadline to apply for assistance has closed, but families who were not on the installation before the deadline or find themselves in need may contact ACS at 678-6767.