It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas for Teresa Young.
The Lyon County Schools Family Resource and Youth Services Center (FRYSC) director is in the midst of her 20th Angel Tree Program that asks sponsors to make the holiday season a little brighter for dozens of underprivileged youth in the community. In fact, the signature Christmas trees decorated with children's wish lists will start going up this week at various locations in Eddyville.
"I want people to let it come from the heart," Young said of sponsors who pitch in to help. "Make a child feel special."
This year, trees will be placed at the Eddyville locations of Akridge Farm Supply, Fifth Third Bank, Farmers Bank and Trust Co., Fredonia Valley Bank, BB&T Bank and Food Giant as well as The Herald Ledger. Each will have Angel tags - red for girls, green for boys - with everything a sponsor needs to grant a fulfilling Christmas to local children in need. No names are attached to the tags, but the angels list specific toys and clothes sizes matched to children whose parents registered through FRYSC.
Young said the gifting usually ranges between $100 and $150.
However, she understands that may be too much for some sponsors hoping to play Santa Claus for the less fortunate. She recommends group sponsorship with friends or fellow churchgoers.
"Have a party and got out and buy for the kiddos," she suggested. "It may be the only Christmas they get."
And if someone wants to partake in the spirit of the season but does not have the time to do the shopping, monetary donations can be taken at the FRYSC office, which is adjacent to the school district's central office on Jenkins Road in Eddyville.
While it may seem early for traditionalists to be thinking about shopping for Christmas, Young said it is important to have the Angel Trees up prior to Thanksgiving to give sponsors time to incorporate into their holiday shopping. The program will assist about 100 students from high school seniors down to preschoolers or their younger siblings.
"Not everybody who needs help is going to come in here for assistance," Young said.
But those parents who do must complete a budgeting course and two others classes centered on creating a better environment for children at home.
The classes are fairly simple, Young explained just minutes after wrapping up a financial planning session last week with about 10 families; and no test is given.
Gifts purchased by individual sponsor or groups can be returned to the location where the Angel Tree tags were taken or to the FRYSC office by Monday, Dec. 16.
Presents do not have to be wrapped, but if they are, Young requests a note be affixed on the outside of the box or bag indicating what is inside. Grouping the gifts in a bag or by ribboning together is also helpful, as is including the receipt in the event an item needs to be exchanged for a better fit.
For teenagers, Young said gifting can be a little trickier than for little tykes, especially when it comes to attire.
"It's hard to buy clothes for a teenager," she said.
In that case, she suggests gift cards in order to allow a teen to make his or her own selection of clothing or other item.
The FRYSC director said many sponsors over the years have supplemented fulfilling a child's wish list with a food basket for the entire family.
Christmas Angel Trees locations
Lyon County FRYSC Christmas Angel Trees will be placed at the following locations in Eddyville:
• Akridge Farm Supply
• Food Giant
• Farmers Bank and Trust Co.
• BB&T Bank
• Fifth Third Bank
• Fredonia Valley Bank
• The Herald Ledger