Angel Project kicks off with Nov. 19 ceremony
A group of women make their selections from the Angel Project tree during its Nov. 19 kickoff at the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex in Tahlequah. More than 1,800 children will receive gifts this year through the effort of the tribe and public to purchase needed items for Christmas. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
This year’s Angel Project kicked off on Nov. 19 at the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex in Tahlequah. The general public is welcome to select pink slips of paper containing the ages, genders and needs of children printed on the backs. Gifts are to be returned unwrapped by Dec. 6 to Cherokee First in the Tribal Complex. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH – A Christmas tree decorated with lights and pink slips of paper awaited the public as Cherokee Nation officials kicked off this year’s Angel Project on Nov. 19 at the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex.
“(Principal) Chief (Chuck) Hoskin (Jr.) has three initiatives of community, family and culture. To me, the Angel Project touches on two of those very closely with community and family. It’s an opportunity for us to come together as family, not only as employees at the Cherokee Nation but as individual families, and ultimately, a community to take care of every family that is in need,” Chief of Staff Todd Enlow said.
The Angel Project was established to provide Christmas gifts to low-income Native children up to 16 years of age residing in the CN.
Misty Blunt, Indian Child Welfare prevention manager, said this year’s project helps provide gifts to more than 1,800 children.
Tree locations include the Tribal Complex, hospitals, medical clinics and Walmart stores.
Blunt said Cherokee Nation Businesses takes a portion of the angels, as well as W.W. Hastings Hospital and the general public.
“We do ask people to look at their needs first and try to purchase their needs and then do gifts after that,” Blunt said.
Needs can include bedding, blankets, socks, underwear, winter clothing and hygiene products. In the past, wants have included bicycles, headphones, ear buds and video game consoles.
Angels that do not get selected still receive gifts through volunteers who sign up to help shop. Blunt said they generally end up shopping for around 300 to 500 angels so that every child receives something.
“It takes an amazing team to do this. It’s lots of hours, lots of work from taking the applications to cutting and putting ribbon on the angels to sorting the gifts, handing out the gifts. Lots of hours and lots of time but we love it,” Blunt said.
In addition to the kickoff, representatives from construction companies made donations.
CPR Roofing of Tulsa made a $10,000 donation, Builder’s Unlimited made a $2,500 donation and Cooper Construction donated an undisclosed amount.
“Not only are they partners to help us achieve magnificent things from building health clinics and taking care of elders and providing safe stable places for us to work, they’re also partners with us to help take care of those in need,” Enlow said.
Gifts are to be returned unwrapped by Dec. 6 to Cherokee First in the Tribal Complex and will be distributed starting Dec. 9.