Letter: Who made the first Senior Angel Tree Project a success? You.

This year was the initial launching of the Senior Angel Tree project in Rappahannock County, modeled after a similar successful program in Culpeper. When the trees were first set up in late November, there were 85 senior “angels” placed on three separate trees — at the Rappahannock Library, the Rappahannock National Bank, and Reynolds Memorial Baptist Church. Though no names were given, age, sex, and wish lists were listed.

These “angels” were either participants at the Senior Center, participants in our Home Delivered Meals Program through RRCSB, senior contacts through Social Services or senior community members referred by others. Bottom line: We wanted to make this Christmas special and memorable for them by sharing gifts and love with each. Truthfully, we hoped this would catch on, but we didn’t really know what the outcome would be.

Should we have ever doubted? This fabulous Rappahannock community rose to the occasion once again, adopting all 85 of the senior “angels.” Individuals, couples, families, fellow workers and youth groups all participated. We had never seen so many beautifully wrapped, lovingly shopped-for gifts, all given anonymously with tons of love attached to each package! It was overwhelming.

Christmas deliveries, thanks to our 19 inches of snow, continued even into the New Year. But all of the gifts were distributed and the stories that go with the givers and the receivers are nothing short of amazing and beautiful!

Though many of the gifts were quietly dropped off at the appropriate places, some tidbits got through, like the woman who lost her dad this past year, so she picked two names from the trees about the age of her father to shop for — so she felt better , and she blessed two kind gentlemen. Or the woman who chose someone that had just lost her husband because she had just lost hers and wanted to be a friend. Or the youth group that pitched together to make Christmas that much more special for their “angel.” Or the person that chose someone who’d asked for a Bible because she felt there was no greater gift to give than the Word of God. Many givers told of the fun and fulfillment that had in shopping for their specially chosen “angel.”

The gifts varied from clothing to gardening supplies to blankets to gift cards. One recipient was delighted with her rare plants, another with her collectable elephant, and another with her warm, fuzzy lap blanket. Then there were the beautiful flannel shirts, lovely scarves and pins, cookware, baking supplies, fresh fruit, warm socks, candies, and so many more personalized precious gifts!

You, Rappahannock County, have made these senior “angels” in this community feel warm, loved, special and of great value! We could never have asked for this to go any better than it did. A very special thank you to Rev. Jon Heddleston and the Reynolds Memorial Baptist Church, Kelly Settle and all the great folks at Rappahannock National Bank, and David, Cindy, and Denise at the Rappahannock Library for all of their help and support—and unbridled enthusiasm—in making this first Senior Angel Tree project a huge success!. The senior “angels” wanted us to tell you thank you from their hearts, also. May 2010 be a year of blessings for you all!

Darcy Canton
Coordinator, Rappahannock Senior Center
Sharon Pyne Adult Services, Social Services Department

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