Air Force first sergeants throughout the KMC gathered at the Kaiserslautern Military Community Center to kick off the 2016 Angel Tree ceremony Nov. 8 on Ramstein.
The Angel Tree program is a First Sergeant Council outreach initiative that provides monetary assistance to Airmen and their families. The program provides assistance to help Airmen through unforeseen financial difficulties, such as travel expenses for them or their families due to medical emergencies or even toys for their children during the holiday season.
“I was an Airman once, and sometimes they might not have the financial means to give everything they want to their children,” said Master Sgt. Timothy Bedford, 21st Operational Weather Squadron first sergeant. “There are times we have to prioritize things such as food or clothing over the little things we want but don’t necessarily need in our life. We can help our families not have to make that choice.”
Sixteen Angel Trees were placed throughout the KMC, three of them at the KMCC’s entrances alone. Each tree is covered in tags with recommended donation amounts, but any donation is accepted.
Last year, the Angel Tree program gave back nearly $15,000 in a single month. More than 200 families received donations, affecting more than 400 children’s lives.
“Just to see the impact of being able to provide some relief to Airmen throughout the KMC is huge,” said Master Sgt. Daniel Olivares, 86th Operations Support Squadron first sergeant. “It shows the support of the United States Air Force as a whole can provide for our families.”
This year’s goal is to match and hopefully exceed that amount, said Olivares.
After the Angel Tree kickoff, first sergeants handed out random gifts to Airmen around the KMCC.
“We are always discussing how we can give back to the community and how we can better serve our Airmen,” Olivares said.
Proceeds from the 2016 Angel Tree program will be given to families in need after Dec. 21.