Teaming up for Tots serves as 'angels'
By JUDY SHERARD
The blue and pink angels make pretty decorations on the Christmas trees throughout town.
But even more important, they mean a gift for an Ellis County child who might not get one otherwise.
Ellis County families put their children's names on the gift list when they sign up for holiday meals through the Community Assistance Center. Children ages newborn to 17 can be included.
This year, a total of 165 families and 436 children are signed up for the project, said Heidi Rohleder, a member of Teaming up for Tots.
Organizing the angel tree project is the sole focus of the group of approximately 10 volunteers who get together in late October and transfer the children's "wish list" to the angels.
Each child gets two angels, one for clothes and one for a toy. Pink angels are for girls and blue for boys.
The child's clothing angel gives sizes, and the toy angel lists a preference.
A limit of $30 for each gift is suggested, she said.
Wooden toys made each year by the Fort Hays State University Department of Technology Studies and volunteers also are given to each child, ages 3 to 7.
The trees were put in place last weekend at The Mall, Walmart SuperCenter, Walgreens and Bank of America.
Rohleder already has had to "restock" the angels at some locations, a good problem to have, she said.
Several local organizations also donate money to help pay for gifts for angels that aren't selected. Others volunteer their time to help pick up the toys at the drop-off locations and deliver them to the National Guard Armory for sorting and distribution.
Rohleder has been involved in the project for approximately eight years.
"It's community service, and a way for kids less fortunate to get a Christmas gift," she said.
Drop off locations for purchased gifts are Walmart SuperCenter, Bank of America and Maurices at The Mall. The deadline to drop off the unwrapped gifts is Dec. 5.
Cash donations also are accepted and can be mailed to Teaming Up For Tots, P.O. Box 542, Hays, KS 67601.