The Angel Tree Project has officially begun for the 2017 holiday season. Community members once again have an opportunity to bring joy to a local child in need by adopting a tag off of the Angel Tree. The tree, located at the Webster Theater, boasts 280 tags this year. Last year, 270 tags were adopted by generous community members.

Individuals can select one or more tags. Each tag boasts the clothing size, gender and Christmas wish list of a Hamilton County child. Once tags have been selected, participants can shop for clothes and other Christmas wish list items the child would enjoy.

“You fill out an application with your child’s name, age, shirt/pant size and also a wish list of things they might like for Christmas,” said Kay Ross, HERO Board member/treasurer.

After applications are returned, the information is transferred to the Angel Tags. The tags are then hung on a tree in the lobby of the Webster Theater for individuals to pick up. After shopping for each Angel, participants can bring their items back to the theater by Friday, Dec. 1. Items can also be dropped off at the Webster City Fire Station.

To select which children in Hamilton County the program could assist, the HERO Board sent out applications to Hamilton Public County Health, Upper Des Moines Opportunity and the Stratford food pantry. The program is open to anyone who lives in Hamilton County.

“Then on Dec. 2, we begin the sorting process of putting the families’ things all together in one big bag for the family to pick up on Dec. 10,” said Ross.

According to Ross, many local families grab tags and make shopping for the project a family affair.

“We have an awful lot of families that like to come in with their kids and pick tags and go shopping together as a family for other kids that are less fortunate,” Ross said. “We also have civic organizations that like to adopt tags and shop for them.”

Those who want to help a local child/family have a brighter holiday can pick up one or more tags at the Webster Theater. Each tag must be registered for in the book next to the tree at the theater.

“We have volunteers here daily at the theater from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. It’s also open during the regular hours the theater is open,” Ross said. “You can come in, grab a tag, register in the log book and support a local child and family.”

Cash donations are also welcome. The HERO Board will take the cash donated and use it to purchase items for any Angel tags not taken by Dec. 1.

According to Ross, the Webster City Elementary School PTO will also be selling Lynx shirts and other items in the lobby during Angel Tree.

“So you can come and buy Lynx apparel for your Angel or for your family, but it will be doing some good for either project,” said Ross.

The Angel Tree Project was started by the HERO Board in 2013. This is the fourth year the Angel Tree Project is helping Hamilton County children in need.

“It’s been very successful. We’ve had fantastic participation and it’s very rewarding,” Ross said. “It reminds you to be thankful.”

Click here to view the story as it originally appeared in the Daily Freeman Journal.

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