MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. -- The holiday season has arrived. Stores are beginning to display holiday sales and houses are lit up with decorations. It’s the season for being thankful and giving.
One opportunity to help those in need at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., is the Angel Tree program.
The Angel Tree program is an anonymous gift giving program run by the sergeants major of each squadron at the air station and Marine Corps Community Services here. Through the program, families in need can ensure their child receives a gift on Christmas.
“Gifts are submitted for children of all ages, from infants to teenagers,” said Alicia Hedelund, first lady of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. “Gifts vary based on the child’s request. Some angels are very specific; others just say the child’s gender and age.”
According to Hedelund, this is Cherry Point’s second year hosting the Angel Tree event. Last year more than 150 families received gifts for their children. This year, the goal is to double the amount of Angel Tree gifts.
“The program runs from Nov. 10 through Dec. 12 and any family who is in need or is struggling can submit their children,” said Hedelund. “Since it doesn’t end until Dec. 12, as long as we keep getting the need, we will keep putting angels up on the tree.”
According to Hedelund, the beauty of the Angel Tree is that no matter which angel is picked from the tree, the person choosing it can be assured that the gift will go to a Marine or Sailor’s family.
“It is important in this season to help our fellow Marines, Sailors and their families. Whether that means providing a meal at thanksgiving, a bag to make a meal or helping them out with the presents under their tree,” said Hedelund.
Families who are interested in submitting for an angel can do so by contacting their squadron’s sergeant major or family readiness officer.
Those who wish to provide gifts for Cherry Point children can find Angel Trees at Building 1, the Troop Store and the Marine Corps Exchange.
“I enjoy watching people grab an angel off the tree and get excited and feel good about helping others out,” said Hedelund. “I really hope that the Angel Tree continues here in the future because I know it will only keep getting larger and larger.”
Gifts can be dropped off at the Marine Corps Exchange or Troop Store before Dec. 12. For more information, call (252) 466-3001.