Angel Tree Program aims to give hope to local parents

Missouri+Southern%E2%80%99s+Angel+Tree+sits+on+the+second+fl+oor+of+Hearnes+Hall+during+last+year%E2%80%99s+Angel+Tree+Program+with+Christmas+presents+around+it+for+low+income+Southern+students+with+children.

Teresa Shufflin | Contributor

Missouri Southern’s Angel Tree sits on the second fl oor of Hearnes Hall during last year’s Angel Tree Program with Christmas presents around it for low income Southern students with children.

Morgan Reed, Staff Writer

The members of Missouri Southern’s Angel Tree program committee met to plan for the second year, hoping to see the program flourish and become an annual tradition on campus. The goal is to make sure the program is valued by faculty, staff and even students, according to Patty Holder, last year’s committee chair.

She said the Angel Tree Program was created last fall in an effort to help low-income students provide a fulfilling and memorable Christmas for their children.

“Last year was very successful,” Holder said. “It was our first year to have the Angel Tree. Staff, faculty and other students were able to help provide 67 children with presents from their parents.”

The committee hopes to provide Christmas to 100 children

this year, Holder said.

Applications for this year’s Angel Tree program went out on Sept. 3 and as of the last staff meeting, 15 students have applied, which has resulted in 30 children thus far. The final deadline for submission of this year’s applications is today. Applications must be turned into Recreation Service Room 241 in Billingsly Student Center.

Students send in applications, and the committee looks over those applications and accepts children based on ones received. Faculty and staff then have the opportunity to adopt a child’s wish list.

“Here at MSSU we are not just a university, but we like to see ourselves as a great big family,” said Teresa Shufflin, the committee chair for this year’s program. “We don’t want to see any child left out.”

On Nov. 2 the Angel Tree will be set up on the second floor of Hearnes Hall, right outside the president’s office. Campus members can pick an ornament from the tree to find a wish list. The next step is for the donor to go shopping for that child’s gifts.

Holder said the committee heard from many students last year, who said the program was a blessing to their families during a stressful time. Without it, they said they did not know how they would have given their children any presents.

“That is what makes me and other members of the MSSU family love being involved with the Angel Tree,” said Holder. “Because we are able to help take stress off our students during a busy and stressful time.”

There is a $50 spending limit set for each child. Individuals can either adopt the child’s full wish list or do what they can to help. Any help toward a child’s wish list is welcomed and appreciated, Holder said.

Gifts must be turned into no later than 5 p.m. on Nov. 30. Take gifts to the Recreation Center Services offi ce in BSC, Room 241.

Once all gifts are turned in, the committee plans to hold a gift-wrapping party in Recreation Services. The party will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 1.

The committee is asking faculty and staff to donate at least an hour of their time so all gifts can be wrapped. But wrapping is not limited to faculty and staff; anyone and everyone is welcome to help out.

The gifts will be distributed to the parents on Dec. 2 at Southern Lights from 5 to 7 p.m. Students must bring Southern ID in order to pick up gifts.

Students who cannot make the Southern Lights pick up time slot must make an appointment with Recreation Services to pick up gifts by Dec. 3. If students have any scheduling conflicts or questions, they may contact Shuffl in at 417-625-9512 or email her at shuffl [email protected]

“I am an individual that wants to see joy in everyone’s heart,” said Shuffl in. “There’s love on this campus for our students. This is faculty’s way of showing that love. That is exactly why I’m involved in doing this.”