Angel Project kick-off set for Nov. 21, Elder Angels ready to adopt

BY STACIE BOSTON
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
11/17/2017 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – As the year comes to a close, it’s a time of reflecting and embracing the holiday spirit for most.

With the Cherokee Nation Angel Project kicking off at 4 p.m. on Nov. 21 and the Elder Angel Tree in full swing, people will have the chance to make someone’s holiday season more cheerful.

Rachel Fore, Indian Child Welfare administrative operations manager, said the Angel Project’s purpose is to “provide hope in the form of gifts.”

“As a Nation, we want to help provide for our most vulnerable people, our children,” she said. “Having presents to open at Christmas can provide hope for our Cherokee children and that is why myself, my Angel Project team and many volunteers work so hard during this time of year.”

At 1,921 angels on the tree, Fore said it’s “important” to come together to help these children.

“As a community it is important that we come together at this time of year to show our Cherokee children that they are a blessing and that their tribal community will provide for them when needed,” she said.

To adopt, Fore said people can take angels off the tree at the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex or email angel-project@cherokee.org to request angels.

When picking an angel there will be a list of needed items and “wants” the children may have. If people wish to donate money instead of picking an angel they can. Fore said people wishing to donate should visit secure.cherokee.org/OnlineGiving/Donations/, create and choose the “Recipient as Angel Tree” option. She said people have until Dec. 15 to do so.

“All donated money will be used exclusively to shop for angels who are not provided for,” she said.

Fore said gifts for adopted angels must be returned to Cherokee First in the complex by Dec. 8.

Fore said people can also volunteer to help shop for children or work at the warehouse.

Crystal Thomas, Elder Angel Tree coordinator, said this year has proved to be the largest number of elder angels received since the program’s 2011 inception.

Thomas said 295 elders became available for adoption on Nov. 6 and 250 were still on the tree as of Nov. 11. She added that elders are being adopted at a slower rate this year.

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.

When adopting an elder, Thomas said there are lists of items for his or her “needs” and “wants.”

“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.”

Elder angels can be chosen at the Human Services office in the complex or by emailing crystal-thomas@cherokee.org. Gifts must be returned wrapped or in gift bags by Dec. 4.

For more information, call Thomas at 918-453-5627.

Dates, times and places to volunteer to shop for the Cherokee Nation Angel Project.

Shopping trips in Tahlequah:

• Nov. 28
9 a.m.-5 p.m.

6 p.m.-9 p.m.

• Nov. 29
9 a.m.-5 p.m.

6 p.m.-9 p.m.

• Nov. 30
9 a.m.-5 p.m.

6 p.m.-9 p.m.

• Dec. 1
9 a.m.-5 p.m.

• Dec. 3
3 p.m.-6 p.m.

Shopping trips in Catoosa:

• Nov. 28
9 a.m.-5 p.m.

• Nov. 29
9 a.m.-5 p.m.

• Nov. 30
9 a.m.-5 p.m.

• Dec. 1
9 a.m.-3 p.m.

People can also volunteer at the Cherokee Nation Angel Project warehouse between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. to 9 p.m on Dec. 1-16. For more information, call 918-458-6919.

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