ON THE COVER: Player to watch - Carl TurnerREAD ONLINE
Junior Auxiliary of Searcy adopts community ‘angels’Published December 5, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
SEARCY — For the ladies of the Junior Auxiliary of Searcy, giving to others at Christmastime is nothing new; they’ve been doing it for more than 10 years. With their annual Angel Tree, auxiliary members are helping 250 children in the community.
The organization’s mission is to meet the needs of the community’s residents, especially the children, and make a lasting difference in the community, according to its Facebook page. The Angel Tree project provides clothes and toys to local children in need. Heather Glenn is the chairwoman of the project this year.
“We gather names from the Sunshine School, Kids First, a special-needs school in Searcy, Searcy Headstart, Bald Knob Headstart, Kensett Headstart and Rose Bud Headstart,” Glenn said. “We get with the counselors around October to find out how many kids we will be able to sponsor.”
After the names of children in need are gathered, Glenn said, applications are sent to the parents, then sent back to the Junior Auxiliary to be completed.
“We ask for [children’s] sizes on their clothes and their needs and wishes,” Glenn said. “It ranges from socks, underwear and coats to bicycles.”
Children from birth to 18 years old are eligible for the program. Glenn said if there is more than one child in the household, the auxiliary makes sure every child’s needs are met.
“We have 250 kids this year, which is a drop from last year,” she said. “[This program] takes a lot of organization and a lot of team effort. It’s extraordinary.”
Remaining angels can be picked up at First Community Bank, Simmons First Bank, Southern Bank, Regions Bank, First Security Bank, First Centennial Bank and the Searcy Athletic Club. As of Nov. 26, there were 56 angels still needing to be adopted.
“We’ve had an outpouring of support,” she said.
Items for the angels from the tree need to be returned by Dec. 12.
Donations are not limited to items bought specifically for individual angels, Glenn said.
“People can bring in a new toy or some new shoes; we can put all of it to use,” she said.
Though the Angel Tree project is not new to the group, its Christmas trees this year are.
“Steve Ferren donated all of the trees this year, and he built them,” Glenn said. “There are 17 locations, and every location has a tree.”
Glenn said she enjoys playing a part in the Angel Tree program each year.
“There are occasions when I see the names, and I know there is a true need. Knowing there is a kid out there, and they wish for a coat instead of a toy — that says it all.”
Items for angels that have been adopted can be returned to the location where the angel was adopted. More information about the Junior Auxiliary of Searcy is available on its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Junior-Auxiliary-of-Searcy-Arkansas.
Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Online News Editor Lisa Burnett can be reached at 501-399-3664 or email@example.com.