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JA kicks off Wish Tree campaign

Like stars pulsing in the night sky, needy area children’swishes for a joyful Christmas hang among the boughs of a tree.

The wishes are enscribed on paper cutouts of mittens for girlsand boots for boys and placed on Christmas trees at severalBrookhaven businesses as part of the 2006 Junior Auxiliary WishTree campaign.

More than 385 wishes have placed on five trees at each entranceto Wal-Mart and the lobbies of Bank of Brookhaven, State Bank onBrookway Boulevard and the Trustmark Bank office downtown.

“It took that many trees to get all the children on there thisyear,” said Leanne McCaffery, chairwoman of the campaign. “My mainhope and focus this year is to get more children adopted than inthe past.”

It’s not difficult nor expensive to sponsor a child, she said.Items suggested by JA for gifts include two outfits of clothing,underwear, socks, a pair of pajamas, shoes or toys, but it isultimately up to the donater on what the child will receive.

Those who wish to make larger contributions could even adopt afamily. Children in the same family were grouped together on thetree and matching codes indicate children in the same family.

“We have wonderful support here, but it gets more difficult tomeet the demand each year,” McCaffery said. “We get more donaters,but it also seems the number of participating children also goes upeach year.”

The process to donate is quite simple, she said.

A person selects an ornament on the tree and keeps the portionwith the child’s information, such as gender and age. The attachedornament, complete with the donater’s name and contact information,is placed in a wrapped box next to the tree so the organizationwill know which children have been adopted. Gifts are returned,unwrapped, by Dec. 4 with the ornament attached.

The Junior Auxiliary will adopt any children not taken from thetree to ensure all the children have a merry Christmas, she said.Fundraisers held throughout the year pay for the Wish Treecampaign.

Monetary donations are also accepted and will be used topurchase gifts for the children, McCaffery said. The gifts will bedistributed by JA on Dec. 9.