Our family has made The Angel Tree part of our Christmas tradition for several years; however, this is the first year that we have had the opportunity to be a part of volunteering behind the scenes.
All I can say is.... WOW! The Angel Tree Toy Distribution Center works with an efficiency that would impress Santa and his elves. Organization and efficiency is the name of the game when you are trying to make sure that 14,040 children receive gifts for Christmas.
Your first stop is the check in table where you sign in as a volunteer. If you are a first timer, you receive a tour through the process. Otherwise, you go get started.
First stop.... pick up a family sheet with the name of "angels" on it. Each family has a code assigned to it.
Two.... Go to the section of the building with presents bought by community members and see if there is a bag with that code on it meaning that the child was adopted. If you find a bag, go to a station and open it to see what was purchased. If there is no bag, go to the shopping area to shop for the child.
Three... the family sheet tells you the child's requests. This helps you fill their requests. Because many families have more than one child it is important to make sure that the children get equal amounts. It is your job to see that this happens. The "store" allows you to shop to help even out gifts.
Four.... once you have rebagged, relabeled and tagged all the gifts, you put the bags back into the distribution slots and refile the family sheet with the word "complete" written across the sheet.
Did you know that Mississippi was named the most giving state last week? Standing in that distribution center last week I could see why.
As we stood at our stations, we were surrounded by other volunteers. Some were homeschool families like us. Some were Ridgeland Police officers on their lunch break. Some were Belhaven basketball players. All of us were there hoping to make Christmas better for some children.
Volunteering behind The Angel Tree... it is definitely going to be a new tradition at our house!