ARKADELPHIA: Junior Auxiliary helps children at Christmas

By Philip Seaton Published November 22, 2007 at 12:39 a.m.
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— The Christmas trees are up at local stores.

But the ornaments need some help.

The Junior Auxiliary of Arkadelphia is sponsoring its annual Angel Tree program and the trees have been put up in various locations around town, including the main location the Wal-Mart Supercenter on Malone Drive.

"We want to get people interested in helping these families," Junior Auxiliary Angel Tree Chairwoman Amy Fulmer said.

She said the Junior Auxiliary, which has about 30 active members, was able to help more than 450 children in Clark County last Christmas.

"We hope to help even more this year through the help of the community," Fulmer said. "Groups throughout the community have been great to support our program."

She said that one church and one business requested 70 Angels for their trees last year.

"Sunday school classes 'adopted' whole families and provided for each child," Fulmer said. "Companies and individuals elected to provide gifts of money, and 100 percent of thefunds went to buy gifts for children who haven't received packages by our delivery dates."

With two colleges in Arkadelphia - Henderson State University and Ouachita Baptist University - the Junior Auxiliary has plenty of help from the students.

"We've had fraternities and sororities take angels," Fulmer said. "Last year, the Henderson State football team helped deliver the gifts, and you should've have the kids' faces when they saw the football players."

The colleges got into the "spirit" of things earlier this month when during the OBU/ HSU "Battle at the Ravine" when the students raised more than $2,600 and a trailer full of toys. Pediatric Specialty Care of Arkadelphia also recently hosted a spaghetti dinner with all of the proceeds going to the Angel Tree program.

The families that receive help are chosen based on income and other hardships.

"It could be for a variety of reasons," Fulmer said.

She said that once the families are selected, they put out a "want list."

That sets in motion theevents that culminates with Auxiliary members collecting the gifts at the drop-off point - First Presbyterian Church on Pine Street in Arkadelphia.

They gifts will be picked up between Thursday, Dec. 13, and Sunday, Dec. 16.

Fulmer, who is a teacher at Perritt Primary School in Arkadelphia, said she hopes people get into the "spirit of the season."

"It takes the kids that don't have a reason to celebrate and gives them a reason to celebrate," she said. "As a teacher, I can tell those that don't have a reason to celebrate. They can now come back after Christmas and tell their friends that they had a good Christmas."

Fulmer also gets her son involved in the project.

"I have a 6-year-old, and I always adopted a child that was his age," she said. "I let him do the shopping and pick out the type of things that he would like. He always picks the neatest things, but more importantly, I want to show him the spirit of giving."

For more information about the Angel Tree program in Arkadelphia, contact Fulmer at (501) 815-4729 or by e-mail at fulmera@aspd.k12.ar.us.

- pseaton@ arkansasonline.com

None Philip Seaton can be reached at .