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A giving heart — 61 children adopted through local Angel Tree effort

The manager of a Brookhaven hospice is just one of 61 people to adopt a child through her office this December.

While hospice efforts focus on end-of-life care, these adoptions are meant to help children living in poverty have an exciting, meaningful Christmas.

Deaconess Hospice on Whitebrook Drive has been a popular site for distribution of Salvation Army Angel Tree adoptions for four years, and manager Tenesia Leonard says the interest from the public has grown each year. When Salvation Army contacted Leonard to see how the hospice could help this year, 140 children were available to adopt. The hospice took 61.

“We’ve had a great turnout every year,” Leonard said. “We ran out of trees very quickly this year.”

An angel card for each of the five dozen-plus children was hung on a Christmas tree in the business’ lobby, each with a child’s name, age, clothing sizes and a few toy items his or her parent or guardian had requested. As angels were “adopted” from the tree by local people wanting to help someone this holiday, the person was instructed to bring unwrapped, new items to Deaconess Hospice — each item labeled with the number from their angel — so Salvation Army could pick them up and distribute them to the appropriate families in Lincoln and Pike counties.

Leonard chose a 6-month-old boy to adopt for the giveaway. The packages her chosen child will receive include clothing, baby products, a stroller and learning toys.

Boxes, bags and bicycles labeled with Angel Tree numbers filled the lobby and spread into the conference room of the hospice’s office as they awaited pickup Monday.

“We’re going to have to get a bigger office next year,” said David Thames, the hospice’s executive director.

Leonard said they were very pleased with the response and people’s eagerness to be a part of something good.
“I guess during this pandemic everyone has a giving heart.”