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Wish Tree seeks donors, over 200 children remain

More than 200 less fortunate children in Brookhaven and LincolnCounty are still in need of some holiday cheer through the JuniorAuxiliary’s Wish Tree program.

With the deadline for donations set for Monday, Wish Treevolunteers are hoping there will be some last minute shoppers inthe community who would like to be responsible for a child’s eyeslighting up with joy on Christmas morning.

“It means so much to the children we help,” said Wish Treechairwoman Leanne McCaffery. “We have had so many parents coming inwith tears, thanking us for doing this for their children becausewithout Wish Tree, they wouldn’t have been able to haveChristmas.”

While approximately 200 needy children have already been”adopted” during this year’s Wish Tree drive, McCaffery saidSaturday that 217 ornaments, representing Wish Tree recipients,were still left on Christmas trees set up at both entrances toWal-Mart Supercenter.

Each ornament has two parts – one side with information about achild and the other side for information about the person or groupadopting a child.

Information listed on the ornaments includes a child’s clothingsizes, gender, race and age, which ranges from infant to 12 yearsold. The ornaments do not list the names of the needy children, whoare each assigned a number for privacy.

“Adopting is easy,” said McCaffery. “All they do is select anornament, fill out their information, drop that part in the box bythe tree, and shop for that child.”

Sponsors do not have to spend any certain amount for the childthey adopt, said McCaffery, pointing out that every donated item isgreatly appreciated. Gifts should be left unwrapped under one ofthe Wish Trees at Wal-Mart or dropped off at the old Bill’s DollarStore building, located in the shopping center adjacent to themovie theater. Wish Tree volunteers will be busy organizing giftsall week from 8 a.m. until at least 5 p.m. at the building.

Gifts can be placed in bags, with the adopted child’s numberwritten on the outside of the bags. Also, the child’s informationside of the ornament should be attached to the bags to ensure giftsare distributed to the correct child.

For those who want to help provide gifts for Wish Tree children,monetary donations and gift cards are beneficial in making sureeach child has a merry Christmas, said McCaffery.

“If they don’t feel like they have time to shop, we would behappy to shop for them,” she said.

It is the goal of Junior Auxiliary to meet the overall needs ofthe children, making sure that each child receives two outfits,pajamas, socks, underwear, shoes, a toothbrush and three toys.

“And I’m sure any child would be overjoyed with anything extrathan that,” said McCaffery.

Many churches, youth groups, Sunday school classes and evengroups of friends often work together to provide lots of “extras”by adopting a child and sometimes several children as a way tospread the cheer of the holiday season.

Anyone with questions about adopting a child or dropping offdonations or gifts can call the Wish Tree phone at (601)757-1533.

McCaffery anticipates another successful year for Wish Tree,with over 400 children being blessed by the program and thegenerous people who adopt them.

“On behalf of all the Wish Tree children and members of JuniorAuxiliary, we thank the community for their continued support,” shesaid. “So often the parents come in hugging us and thanking us, butwe’re not the ones to be thanked, it’s the community.”

Distribution day for parents/guardians of Wish Tree children topick up gifts will be Saturday, Dec. 9 at the old Bill’s DollarStore.