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Help JA Wish Tree effort this season

The Junior Auxiliary’s Wish Tree program is a worthy cause that needs your help. The group makes Christmas special for hundreds of local children who otherwise wouldn’t know the joy of a bountiful Christmas morning.

The first deadline for granting wishes has come and gone and still more than 80 local, needy children’s ornaments were left hanging, un-adopted. So JA has pushed the deadline to Tuesday to give the community more time to grab an ornament and do some shopping.

“If we want a strong community, if we want great neighbors and a positive society, it starts right here with taking care of our own and making sure every child is brought up so they know they live in a community that cares about them,” Stephanie Henderson, JA first vice president service chair, said. “It’s a cycle, it’s all about sharing the love and joy this time of year so those children can grow up and, one day, give back, too.”

Anyone wishing to grab an ornament off the JA’s wish trees can do so by visiting Broma’s Deli or the lobby at King’s Daughters Medical Center, each of which displays a small Christmas tree decorated with blue and pink paper ornaments listing the age, gender and interests of local children whose families need help making Christmas merry. Shoppers fill out a tear-off section with their own contact information and drop into the Wish Tree box so the JA can keep track of which children have been adopted, the newspaper reported earlier this week.

Shoppers are expected to buy each child two outfits, a pair of shoes and three toys, and the JA will throw in underwear, socks, a toothbrush and toothpaste for every child. The group has also done some summer shopping and will drop a few warm-weather items into the gift bags for later in 2019.

Henderson said the organization recommends purchasing a “good, better and best” toy.

“We don’t want people to break the bank. Keep it reasonable, but also get something you would like for your own children to have,” she said. “And let your own children help choose the toys. For those of us who are blessed to be in a position to help, Wish Tree is a great family outing to really share with your children the meaning of Christmas.”

Shoppers should not wrap gifts, but instead should place each child’s gifts in one bag with the Wish Tree ornament attached. Bags should be dropped off at the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce at 230 South Whitworth Ave. or at Betsy Smith Properties at 415 Hwy. 51 South by 5 p.m. Tuesday.

No Wish Tree children will be left out — JA will take any ornaments remaining on the trees after Tuesday and fulfill the shopping requests. Anyone who wishes to make a monetary donation to the Wish Tree program may mail checks to the Junior Auxiliary of Brookhaven at P.O. Box 169, Brookhaven, MS, 39602.

If you are fortunate enough to have the resources to bless these children, please do so.