The Department of Human Services' annual Angel Tree program is now underway until Dec. 11. The angel tree, so called because it is decorated with little angels, is set up in the Fulton County Courthouse. There is also a tree set up at the Wal-Mart in Ash Flat and a small tree at Dollar General in Salem.
Anyone who wants to help with this project can come in and select one or more of the angels off the tree with a wish list for a child on it. After an angel's list is purchased, they should be returned to the courthouse, the Ash Flat Wal-Mart, the Salem Dollar General or the DHS office.
The DHS office asks that people who are picking up more than one angel to consider getting angels from children in the same family so each child in that family can have an equal amount of gifts.
"You might also consider asking your friends, if they plan to take an angel, (to) take angels from the same family and coordinate the gift buying so that each child in the family is equal in items," according to the DHS information sheet.
The gifts should be returned unwrapped, with the angel attached to them.
"We ask that no gifts be wrapped. Putting them in gift boxes or gift bags would be great, but please do not wrap anything," writes the DHS.
Wrapping the presents makes it harder for the DHS to make sure children from the same family are getting equal amounts.
"If you just love to wrap and make lovely packages, that is great. We would, however, ask that you attach, along with your angel, on the top of the package a list of everything in that package so that we will know if we need to buy (additional) items for the other children in that family," according to DHS.
DHS said that many people and organizations have chosen to do all the buying for one whole family. Some have even thrown in a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings for the family they buy for.
Fulton County Administrator Dwight Sharp said that although the program is designed for needy families with children, it can also help those who financially qualify without children. He said these people are given food vouchers from the Salvation Army in Mountain Home.
There are many people in Fulton County that benefit year after year because of this program. Sharp said, in Fulton County, there are over 100 households that get some sort of help with their Christmas needs, and between 170 and 200 children receive items.
According to Sharp, there is no state funding for the program, so all the funding comes from individuals and groups. Sharp said people can give monetary donations and bring in toys. These donations make sure that no one is left without this year.
"There is lots of giving that comes from this program," Sharp said.
For more information about the Angel Tree program or to make a donation or offer to buy items for an entire family, call the Fulton County DHS Office at 895-3309.