Angel Trees: Providing families with hope during the holidays

by Airman 1st Class Ciara M. Travis
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Christmas usually brings family, friends and presents under the tree. To some, however, the presents part may be lacking. But the First Sergeants’ Association and the Airman & Family Readiness Center are teaming up to fill that void.

In order for the FSA and A&FRC to be successful, they need help. This holiday season, several Christmas trees have been strategically placed around the KMC to encourage participation in the Angel Tree Program. 

Helping a less fortunate family is simple and can be done in three steps.
“The first step is to take an envelope from one of the trees, fill out the information slip attached to the envelope, and then place an Army and Air Force Exchange Service or commissary gift card into the envelope and return it to the box located near the angel tree,” said Daniel Hutson, A&FRC community readiness technician.
Trees can be found at the Kaiserslautern Military Community Center, the Ramstein 24-hour Shoppette, and both Ramstein and Vogelweh commissaries.

Because some may struggle to provide everyday necessities for their families, the Angel Tree Program provides gift cards so those families can choose whether to purchase a gift or a necessity. The families are chosen anonymously by supervisors’ recommendations to first sergeants. The families are then evaluated and added to a donor list.

“If you can do something small to help someone and their family, you’re helping relieve unnecessary stress,” said Senior Master Sgt. Keith Custer, FSA president. “And we understand families in need wish for extreme discretion.”

This discretion is very important because it keeps families that just need a helping hand from unnecessary embarrassment.

“Everyone deserves a wonderful holiday season,” Mr. Hutson said. “The great thing about this program is that it shows Airmen helping other Airmen. What better way to be a good wingman than to donate and help another out?”

If your budget is tight this year, another option is to volunteer your time to the Angel Tree Program by sponsoring a tree. This can be done by making your facilities open for a tree and then making sure the tree is always fully equipped with envelopes and decorations.

“If I could encourage anything, it would be to give,” Mr. Hutson said. “Volunteers are what drive the community in the KMC, so give monetarily, give your talents and give yourself to the community.”

To donate or sponsor a tree, call Mr. Hutson or Elizabeth Kennedy at the A&FRC at 480-5900 or at 06371-47-5900.