While maintaining anonymity, sizes are provided for each angel along with specific wants and needs. Age and gender are also provided to aid in selection and purchase of appropriate gifts. Ruritans will gather purchased merchandise to allow gifts to be picked up by families in time for Christmas morning.
Community members turned out in impressive numbers Sunday night to select all of the 93 “angels” available. Club members joined in with refreshments and fellowship, creating a festive community gathering. “This was our eighth year,” noted Dale Jessup, chairman of the club’s Angel Tree Committee, “and we were very pleased with the way people from the Shoals community came out. This was especially important considering the economy and the continued unemployment in our area.”
“We have a great group of people helping out,” he continued. “Everyone works hard to make this happen.”
According to Jessup, some 900 children from throughout the county have been identified as needing help this year.
“A lot of people in this community have shown their concern for their fellow man and for their community,” Jessup said. “We try to support each other and the community.”
Those coming by to select an angel included numerous families and individuals as well as representatives from several Shoals area church groups.
“We have several families who make this a priority each Christmas,” Jessup noted. “I’ve heard stories of youngsters who have asked that they not get as much for their own Christmas in order to be able to do this. And some of our young people use their own money for an angel. That’s an example of families passing on their values. For some, this has become a family tradition.”