Angel tree in Philip

Once again, the Angel Tree displayed in the courthouse is being sponsored by the Philip FCCLA.

The small angel ornaments have a note reading, “Take this angel and hang it on your tree. Leave an unwrapped gift – perhaps a toy, a stuffed animal or a new article of clothing – for any age of child under this tree by Friday, December 17.”

Last year, around 70 such gifts were left under the tree for children of all ages up to 14 years. Local church leaders, teachers and others distribute the gifts to families who may need the extra cheer during Christmas. The circumstances for the need may vary, but the joy of giving never diminishes. Gifts also can vary, from new mittens to Tonka trucks.

Over a dozen children in the Philip area each received at least two such gifts last year. Confidentiality is very strict on who receives these gifts. Sometimes, though, parents of the children who receive the gifts send thank-you notes to the Angel Tree organizers and especially to the gift-givers. All extra gifts are forwarded to the Maggie Grace Angel Tree organization in Rapid City where they are given to families there.

Maggie Grace Mehlhaff was a nine-month-old girl who died before her first Christmas. Maggie’s mother and father have worked to further the Angel Tree project. Coincidentally, Brigitte Brucklacher, FCCLA advisor, was a college roommate with Maggie’s mother.