December 17. Once again our church sponsored Angel Tree families. We served nine families with a total of 22 children. Thanks to our generous church family we were able to help them all. My angels were Pastor John (his help was Amazon), Jeanette Carey, Barbara Martindale, Barbara Johnson, and Linda Howlett. These wonderful people contacted the families, purchased and wrapped gifts and helped with the distribution of the gifts to the families. Thanks again to our church family for their generous support.
Angel Tree coordinator
December 19. Once again we were able to serve Angel Tree children this year. The names come to us in early fall. We then call the caregivers to give us the children's wants and needs. We give a gift of clothing and a toy or game in the name of the absent parent. Our congregation is most generous and responsive to this call.
This year we served seven families with eleven children receiving gifts. In their bags were booklets from Prison Ministry. We gave each child several books and a toy (left over from Sheri LaRoche's collection).
A special thanks to Jeanette Carey, Mary Guy, and Linda Howlett for their help in calling caregivers and purchasing gifts.
June 7, 2015. We were very saddened to learn that our sister Sheri LaRoche, who had guided this ministry for many years, passed away today. We hope that our brothers and sisters of this church and from the community will continue offering Christmas gifts to the unfortunate children whose parents are imprisoned.
December 21. Gifts were distributed today to children from 8 families who have parents that are incarcerated. We thank all those who contributed. Jeanette Carey and Jo Menely passed out the presents. Sheri LaRoche was a big help in organizing the event. Sheri also donated numerous toys to children in our own neighborhood, including all the kids attending Orangethorpe Learning Center. All the people that came were very appreciative and excited. Sometimes we hear unusual and touching stories from the families who receive gifts. This year, a mom who came in with her three daughters told us that she almost didn't make it because her home had just had a carbon monoxide leak in its heating system from which they were lucky to escape, only because they had a carbon monoxide detector installed.
December 22. She was laid off from her job. Her unemployment benefits were running out. Her daughter was gone. Her son-in-law was in jail. She was raising her 3 grandchildren ages 3, 4, & 5. She asked me for a job at the church. When Rosa picked up her gifts last Saturday, I told her to put the gifts under her tree until Christmas; she looked at me and said we can't afford a tree. She tugs at your heart and makes you feel grateful for all the small blessings that God gives us every day. She was one of many that had a story to tell with our Angel Tree Mission this year.
Thanks to each of you that donated money or a gift for one of these children. Angel Tree appreciates the generous donation by Tex. This enabled us to buy extra gifts for the children and the goodies needed for their Christmas stockings. As always none of this would be possible with you and my special angels Jo and Jeanette.
Sheri La Roche
Angel Tree Chairperson
December 17. He jumped into the air, clicked his heels together and yelled "Santa Claus came, Santa Claus came" to his little nephew Jason as he helped him carry his presents to the car. The presents for Jason and the other 61 children were purchased by you, our wonderful, giving congregation.
Thank you to everyone who adopted an angel or donated money for an angel. A special thanks to Methodist Women and Womanspace for their donations. Each child received one present and a gift bag (that we referred to as the stocking stuffers). In the gift bag we included school note books, holiday pens, pencils, and erasers, small card games and last but not least candy! These gift bags were made possible by generous donation from Tex Powell.
We pass on to you all the little thank yous that we heard as the children received their presents. A special thank you to my angels, Jo, Barbara and Jeanette who again earned their wings with Project Angel Tree for without them I would be lost.
Blessings until next year,
Sheri La Roche
December 18. Rain, sleet or snow — just as the mail goes through so did Angel Tree.
Buckets of rain and wet clothes were accompanied by umbrellas, scarves and hoods.
Mommies, Daddies, Grandmas, Grandpas and other family members came forth to pick up the gifts.
The look of awe on one mother's face as her smile lit up the room with joy was worth all the work that goes into the Angel Tree project.
A tug at your heart moment: Two small children pulling on their mother's arm asking her over and over "are all these gifts for me?"
As I played Santa's helper, none of this would have been possible without my elves, Jo and Jeanette.
In addition, special thanks to all of you who adopted an angel (and shopped all by yourself or had Sheri shop for you). We also made 57 bags (like Christmas stockings) for the children. Each bag had candy, school supplies, books and a small toy. These would not have been possible without the wonderful cash donations from you.
So to all my Angels, blessings to you until next season,
Sheri La Roche
They came in all different sizes and shapes. They were Mommies, and Daddies and grandmas. They all came to pick up the gifts for their children that we (our church family) had purchased dfor them. They were very thankful and blessed us for taking care of them. Without us their children would have no gifts to open on Christmas morning.
We had 36 children and purchased 72 gifts (each child gets an article of clothing and a toy). We also gave each child a gift bag with an item you would find in a Christmas stocking. Donations were scarce this year and I was only able to purchase candy and a small game for each child that went inside each gift bag. All of this is made possible by my fabulous committee members, Jo Menely & Jeanette Carey, and their helpers, Pal Houck & Barbara Johnson.
A mother and daughter showed up looking for a donation. They had walked here to our church. It was cold that morning and neither of them had any jacket or sweater. The little girl, who was around three years old, had a cold and looked very unhappy and sad. I remembered that I had some extra gift bags and a toy. I gave them to the little girl. Her smile could have lit up the church. What an awesome way to celebrate baby Jesus' birthday!
One of the grandparents came in a wheelchair.
One mother came on crutches. A father came on a bicycle.
They all came to pick up their gifts for the Project Angel Tree.
There was a mother, named Lorraine, who only wanted blankets instead of clothes and toys for her 5 children. She said they were so cold at nighttime.
We granted her wish and bought her blankets, flannel sheets and comforters. We also got the children clothes and toys. When Lorraine saw all of her gifts she started to cry and said "God Bless you, my children will be warm tonight."
There was the little girl who said, "Mommy are these gifts all mine?" as she struggled to hold on to them.
This is what Project Angel Tree is all about putting smiles on their faces, and in return you also feel blessed. Thank you for helping to make their Christmas a little better this year.
Project Angel Tree Committee:
Sheri La Roche, Jeanette Carey. Jo Menely
Momma, Momma, look are these boxes really mine? Grandpa, the lady said I could take a stuffed animal home with me.
These were a few of the blessed conversations overheard by the committee as the 50 children from project Angel Tree picked up their Christmas Gifts in December.
I was able to purchase some of the 100 gifts we needed for 50 children with the gracious donations from Womanspace, United Methodist Men, OUMC Quilters, United Methodist Women, and from the members of our congregation.
A big thank you to those of you who adopted, shopped and wrapped your gift for your special Angel Tree child. We are very appreciative and grateful to Judge Behn for the donation of all the wonderful stuffed animals. We were assured that they went to warm and loving homes.
I am extremely grateful to my committee members, Jo Menely & Jeanette Carey who coordinated all those wrapped gifts and arranged them on Angel Tree Day.
Sheri La Roche
Jeremy is 2 yrs old. His Mommy is in jail. His father, Michael had custody of Jeremy. Michael said Jeremy needed clothes and toys, and he was so happy that we would do this for Jeremy. Michael died before Christmas. Jeremy's grandparents brought him to pick up his gifts. He ran to the table filled with stuffed animals, grabbed one, and starting hugging his new toy. His grandparents said how grateful they were that strangers would take the time to shop for Jeremy and that now, he would have something under the tree on Christmas morning. They wanted us to know how much they appreciated our help.
The Methodist Men, the Quilters, Womanspace, the Methodist Women, the people who adopted and shopped, the people who wrote us amazing checks, the people who pulled cash out of there pockets and gave it to us, saying here buy something, the people who gave us bags of stuffed animals and puppets. All of these remarkable people make it possible for these children to have a special Christmas.
In addition, to their clothes and toys, each child went home with a stocking filled with school supplies and candy, due to the generosity of our congregation.
We were also able to help some families, who live behind our Church, who needed assistance with gifts for their children because of their financial situation.
On behalf of the Angel Tree Committee we thank you and bless you.
Sheri, Jo, Linda, and Joseph
Perry and Sheri stuffed decorator bags by Linda, with crayons, chocolate, mini notebooks, colored pens, pencils and erasers, and candy canes. (This was made possible by all the generous cash donations we received) While Jo and Joseph played Santa and filled large bags of wrapped gifts waiting to be picked up by the children's guardians. (This was made possible by the members who adopted an angel and went shopping for them).
Patricia, a grandmother and the guardian for 'Precious', age 3, said: "Angel Tree is a big blessing for Precious, whose father is in prison." Precious said: "My daddy is giving me a present".
Angela, the mother of Josh, age 5, said: "I am very grateful for my son, Josh, that he able to receive gifts from his father through Angel Tree."
And all the people said: AMEN!
for Angel Tree
Sheri issued an invitation like the following to our congregation each year; this was from November 2010...
Project Angel Tree is coming real soon. You will be able to pick your own angel. You can pick one, two or seven angels. There are no limits on angels. You can shop till you drop while buying clothes, books or toys. Or you can pick an angel and have me shop for you. If it was not for your kindness these children would not have anything to open at Christmas.
OUMC has the honor of purchasing gifts for children who have a mommy or daddy serving time in jail. OUMC also has the honor of helping some of the families in our Latino ministry and our neighborhood whose parents are out of work. Without OUMC's help there would be no Christmas joy for these children. I am very happy that we can put a twinkle in their eyes and a smile on their lips.
The Angel Tree program is run by thousands of churches and dedicated volunteers across the nation working alongside Prison Fellowship staff. Here's a brief description of the process: