With the message of giving instead of receiving, the spirit of generosity during this time of year is as much a tradition as a certain jolly, bearded saint. It is the willingness to give to those in need that has helped Meritan Inc. fulfill the Christmas wishes for dozens of children in foster care across the state.
The nonprofit’s Angel Tree program allows the community to sponsor a child by purchasing gifts from a “wish list” tree set up at Swheat Market Deli in downtown Cartersville. For many of the nearly 60 children Meritan supports, this is the only opportunity to receive a special gift during the holidays.
Meritan Program Director Sharal Ozim said it is amazing to see the community support.
“It means a lot,” Ozim said. “To see strangers come forward to help is great and it says a lot about their spirit that they are willing to help.”
Mary Meador, a recruiter and trainer with the nonprofit, said the gifts are important in ways that are both tangible and intangible.
“I know gifts don’t replace what these children have lost but it’s something to put a smile on their faces,” Meador said.
Meador said the children who come through the nonprofit need foster parents who are specially trained to care for them. It often takes one to two years for the average child to either be adopted or returned to their biological families. Seeing these children, who have seen so much in their young lives, smile during the holidays means just as much to the staff, said case manager supervisor Sharinda McKnight.
“It’s really a blessing to see people come together to help these kids,” McKnight said.
Those interested in participating still have time to select an angel from the tree.
There are both pink and blue angels for the children and volunteers are asked to select one and plan to spend around $50 to $75 per child.
After selecting an angel, please complete the short form next to the tree and place it in the donation container. Please plan to deliver the gifts to the nonprofit’s office at 920 A N. Tennessee Street by Friday at 5 p.m.
Information: (770) 387-9003.