Each year, the Angel Tree project supports those in need of help in our very own parish community. The initiative has been running for around 20 years and is a collaboration between the Social Concerns Committee, the Church of Ascension, and the area schools in south Bismarck and the Light of Christ schools.
Tina Kellar and Heather Leier together lead the initiative that assists with providing gifts to children in the parish community who may not otherwise receive one.
“Our committee members contact the local schools that would have kids at Ascension,” Heather says. “The school counselors contact the parents in each school that they think would benefit. We serve south Bismarck schools and Light of Christ.”
Tags will go up on a Christmas tree the weekend of Thanksgiving. Parishioners are asked to take a tag and purchase a gift for the child. Then, gifts are returned the first couple weeks in December so the committee members can return the gifts to the school before school is out for Christmas break.
The project brings the parish community together through acts of stewardship, as well as prayerful support of those who need our help. Anyone of any age or stage of life is welcome and encouraged to help out.
“One important reason I think this project is successful is that it brings the parish together as one, a wonderful representation of the one body of Christ,” Tina says. “And each time the Social Concerns Committee includes the parish members in a project, it’s another example of us gathering to do the work of Christ right here in our community.”
Parishioners are also asked to please consider praying for the recipients of the gifts and their families. This time of year can be especially challenging for those who are struggling. Heather says the project is important to our community because it gives us the opportunity to give back to those who are in need and bring awareness to our community. She also notes the generosity of our parish that she has seen over the years of her involvement.
“The best day is when we sort the gifts,” she says. “It’s overwhelming to see the number of gifts. God is so good and our church community is so generous. It is a blessing for me to be a part of such an amazing group as well as church community.”
Parishioners are encouraged to keep an eye out for the Christmas tree, take a tag, purchase a gift, and return it for the children in the community to receive. All are welcome to participate and prayerfully support this annual effort.