OES has been running the Giving Tree annually for 14 years. Every year, we receive information for about 25 to 28 families that need help from Whitford Middle School and SLAC helps to run the project. The families are selected by the teachers at that school, then the families have to draw lotteries to see if they can actually receive help from the Giving Tree program. Not only Oregon Episcopal School, but also two Episcopal churches—St. John Chapel and Grace Memorial Church—also contribute into this great charity.
SLAC starts to arrange the whole program two weeks before Thanksgiving Break. There will be a huge tree in the main lobby as well as a mock one in MST before conferences; additionally, colorful tags with different shapes will be found in that tree–– with a list of needed supplies and gift ideas for each of the families. Each shape and each color will represent one family. You will realize that families are asking for basic and essential things like socks, jackets, or toys. When the parents are asked about the gifts they want for Christmas, they always say, “No, no, I am fine. Please send a warm jacket to my kid”. They love their kids, and they are wishing for a warm Christmas for them. If you are interested you can even help deliver the gifts to people’s house. It is an overwhelming experience to see the delight on the kids faces when you arrive with a carload of wrapped gifts. Consider their need, listen to announcements in Gathering, and watch for emails–– more information about this year’s Giving Tree is coming up!
As Myra Clark, the Director of AASK Program, said, “The need is great, and we are just doing our part.” The Giving Tree has already become a tradition of OES. We receive a little help from everyone, and we turn that help into a big love.