Thanks to the efforts of Marietta Community Foundation, The Salvation Army, local volunteers, and hundreds of community donors, 556 children will receive the joy of opening presents on Christmas morning.
“It is an amazing feeling to see how the community comes together to provide for families in need,” said Lt. Megan Moretz with The Salvation Army. “This year has been difficult for a lot of people, and I really wasn’t sure if we would receive gifts for the Angel Tree children, but we have been blown away with the response once again… Marietta cares.”
The Washington County Angel Tree Program allows community members to purchase gifts for local children in need. After families register their children through the Salvation Army, a tag is produced detailing the child’s first name and gift list. These tags are then disbursed throughout the community where citizens can pick them up and shop for their chosen child.
Now, after months of preparation and weeks of collecting toys, the Angel Tree Program is disbursing thousands of toys to low-income families throughout the county.
“It is incredible to see all of our hard-work pay-off,” said Heather Allender, President & CEO of the Foundation. “Some of the Foundation staff are out here volunteering today to help disburse the gifts to the families… this is exactly why we love what we do. This is why we put all of our efforts into serving Washington County.”
In 2019 it was announced that Washington-Morgan Community Action would be retiring their Secret Santa Program. Immediately, the Foundation began exploring ways to serve the low-income families that depended on the gift program.
They approached The Salvation Army, in hopes to expand their Angel Tree Program, and a partnership was formed.
“We had originally come into this program ready to serve up to 1,000 children,” said Allender. “Luckily, there wasn’t as much need as we had originally thought, but that just means we are ready for next year!”
“The partnership with Marietta Community Foundation has meant so much,” said Lt. Moretz. “They have backed us up so much this year, and children across Washington County don’t have to worry this year that Santa won’t visit.”
Although the two organizations spear-headed the effort, the community response is what led to the program’s success. Thousands of gifts and monetary donations poured in from community members, organizations, and businesses, including a large space to store the toys, donated by the Washington County Fairgrounds.
In addition to assisting with the program’s expansion, the Foundation also purchased gifts for 46 children enrolled in the program, with 24 of those gifts being purchased in honor of their exiting board members.
Distribution for the Angel Tree Program will take place December 17th – 18th with social distancing regulations in place. Volunteers will wear masks and observe all protocols set by The Salvation Army.
Marietta Community Foundation meets National Standards for operational quality, donor service, and accountability in the community foundation sector. Founded in 1974, the Marietta Community Foundation has grown over the years thanks to a number of generous gifts.
Marietta Community Foundation works to improve Washington County through grants and initiatives. If you would like to support the future of the Angel Tree Program, please visit www.mcfohio.org/donate. For those who wish to speak to an individual, please contact Heather Allender at 740-373-3286 or firstname.lastname@example.org.