Angel Project, Elder Angel Tree accepting applications
In this 2015 photo, people surround the Cherokee Nation Angel Project Tree at the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The Angel Project is accepting applications until Oct. 27 and the Elder Angel Tree until Oct. 31. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – As the season of giving approaches, the Cherokee Nation provides ways for children and elders to receive much-needed items or gifts they may not receive without the help of others.
The Angel Tree Project helps provide gifts for children 16 years old and younger and will be accepting applications until Oct. 27.
Rachel Fore, Indian Child Welfare administrative operations manager, said in 2016 the program helped 1,739 children receive gifts and needed items for the holiday season.
For children to qualify they must live within the tribe’s jurisdiction and their parents or legal guardians must meet income guidelines. Income guidelines change annually.
According to a CN press release, applicants must provide proof of income for all household members over the age of 18. For example, a family of three must not exceed $2,127 net income per month, and a family of four must not exceed $2,562 per month.
When filling out an application for the child’s needs and wants, it asks for one or two reasonably priced gift ideas and clothing sizes for each child.
Applications for the Angel Tree Project can be submitted online at https://secure.cherokee.org/angeltree
or in person from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Oct. 24 at Indian Child Welfare at 750 S. Cherokee, Suite O in Catoosa; from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Oct. 25-26 at CN Human Services at 1501 Industrial Park in Jay; and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Oct. 25-27 at the Tsa-La-Gi Ballroom behind the Restaurant of the Cherokees on the Tribal Complex.
Elders or those who would like to submit an elder for the Elder Angel Tree have until Oct. 31 to do so.
“The Elder Angel Tree is a program for low-income elders, 60 and over, that live within the Cherokee Nation jurisdiction and are citizens, and their spouses, to receive a gift or gifts from a donor that picks their name and gets them Christmas gifts,” Crystal Thomas, Elder Angel Tree coordinator, said.
Thomas said the program is in its sixth year and in 2016 year provided gifts for 172 elders. She said she believes this year that number will be surpassed because 150 applications have already been submitted.
On the application there is a “needs” and “wants” area that can be completed.
“A lot of them want socks and underwear. Some have hobbies that they want gifts for,” she said. “If on the needs list it’s something that we can fix with one of the programs, then of course we refer them.”
Thomas said offering the Elder Angel Tree is important because not all elders have family or receive something special during the holiday season.
“If it wasn’t for the Elder Angel Tree they wouldn’t get a gift, and we feel like everybody needs a gift at Christmas,” she said.
To apply for the Elder Angel Tree, an elder must be a CN citizen, or a spouse or widow of a citizen, and live within the tribe’s jurisdiction. He or she must also be 60 years old or over. Thomas said elders can apply for themselves or someone else can apply for them.
To apply, call Thomas at 918-453-5627, Rachelle Singleterry at 918-453-5694 or Juanita Bark at 918-253-4219 or visit Elder Services in Tahlequah or the sub-offices in Jay, Stilwell, Sallisaw, Locust Grove or Catoosa.