We have been working on developing a plan for Christmas and as promised, we are updating you all on our tentative plan for Angel Tree 2020. This plan is tentative and may have to be adapted again. Please know that in making these decisions our focus has been on how to best serve children in foster care and those at risk of being placed in foster care while also being cognizant of the safety of our volunteers, donors and board members.
Will there be an Angel Tree program this year?
The short answer is yes, there will.
Last year I donated gifts for a specific child, will I be able to do that again?
Yes, we will have a virtual angel tree with specific wishes for children available to donors. We will be accepting donations by mail and will aim to set up a drop off site for gifts in the community but this will depend on the COVID-19 situation in Berks county this winter.
Who will be included as recipients of Angel Tree gifts this year?
We made the difficult decision to scale our Angel Tree program back this year. We believe it would be impossible to host a program on the same scale as last year while maintaining social distancing and protecting our foster families, donors and volunteers.
As a board we thoughtfully considered where we have seen the greatest need over the past few years - the situations where kids may not get any other gifts for Christmas without our program. We chose to focus on two groups:
1. Children receiving 'in home' services from Berks County CYS - Partners in Parenting (PIP) will be providing us with a list of children that PIP serves and a list of gift wishes. We are anticipating between 50 and 70 children will be included in this program.
2. Foster families who have a special circumstance placing them at need this year. We will be inviting social workers from Berks CYS to refer foster families where there is a special need this year - for example due to a loss of income due to the quarantine, or a family that accepted placement of a large sibling group close to Christmas. Foster families will only be included in the Angel Tree program at the referral of a social worker.
Will you be inviting foster families to apply for gifts for their foster children this year?
Sadly we have been forced to scale back our program to ensure the safety of our volunteers and donors. As such we have chosen to focus our efforts in a partnership with Berks CYS. This year we will not be accepting applications from foster families. We apologize for any disappointment this causes.
Will you have physical Angel Trees?
We will be limiting our physical trees this year to a small number of sites that have previously been our most successful. We will be reaching out to our partners at these locations in the fall to confirm they are open to hosting Angel Trees again. We anticipate that there will be very limited, if any, physical trees in open community locations - we encourage our donors to explore our virtual angel tree this year.
Can I volunteer?
We will be recruiting for volunteers to assist with the virtual angel tree. This will be virtual volunteer work completed from your own home. If you are interested in helping in this way please let us know!
Thank you for taking the time to read our update on the Angel Tree 2020. While we have scaled back our Christmas program we have been able to increase the scope of our playroom program. We currently have FIVE playroom makeovers in progress. Check out our website for pictures as we complete projects !
Executive Director of Richie's Wish