Angels Helping Angels warms the holidays for local kids

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

This holiday season will be brighter—and warmer—for many MFL MarMac kids and families thanks to the Angels Helping Angels program. 

Established four years ago, when one of the organizers wanted to help a child in the district get a new winter coat, Angels Helping Angels matches “angels” in need of winter apparel, clothing, blankets, hygiene products, food and even holiday gifts with donor “angels” who have offered to provide those items.

The program has aided over 100 children (and some families) of varying ages and degrees of need in each of the last three years. In 2015, 165 local kids received help, and this year’s number of angel recipients is anticipated to be at or above that amount.

A list of angel recipients has already largely been compiled with the help of school staff, authorities and community members who recognized a need for specific children or families. 

Once an angel recipient is nominated, he/she is registered in the Angels Helping Angels system and given an identification number for tracking and distribution purposes. When a donor comes forward, he/she receives information about a child or family, including age(s), gender, interests and needed items. Any names or specific identifying information is withheld to ensure privacy. Once the items are compiled, the donor returns them to any school district office with the identification number affixed to the package so it can be distributed to the correct angel(s).

One woman, who has been an angel donor since the program began, said she didn’t think twice about participating.

“I have been blessed in my own life and I wanted to make a difference for a child at Christmas,” she remarked. “Christmas should be a joyous time of year. But some children don’t get to experience this. If I can put a smile on some child’s face, even for just one day, then it’s all worth it.”

Another local parent has been both a donor and recipient of Angels Helping Angels.

“I think this program is amazing,” she said. “As we all know, kids love Christmas, and they love to get gifts, but sometimes we fall into hardship and are not able to purchase many gifts.”

This angel mom said she loves Christmas shopping and giving back to others. After being on the receiving end of the program, she said she wanted to support another family as hers had been helped.

“I love giving, so being a donor was fun and exciting. However, when money is tight, it is great to know that many people out there want to help,” she added. “We have been grateful for the things we have received.”

When buying for her angel(s), one donor said she likes to donate a toy the angel has requested along with some new clothes and pajamas.

“Everyone feels good when they have something warm and cozy,” she noted.

For the angel parent whose kids have received items, she said they are, not surprisingly, most excited about the toys. She, however, appreciates the clothing.

When selecting items like clothing, she urged, “get the next size bigger. Kids will grow into them. That’s better than them not being big enough.”

Aside from clothes and toys, the mom said kids also appreciate gift cards, movies and crafts.

Either way, she noted, the kids are appreciative of what they receive.

“The kids think it’s great that someone who doesn’t even know them got them gifts to make their Christmas better,” she said. 

The support of the MFL MarMac community has been touching, the mom continued.

“It means so much to know our kids are growing up in such a wonderful, giving community,” she said. “We have been able to explain to the kids that giving is always better than getting.”

Even giving just a little bit makes a big difference, said an angel donor.

“Give what you can, whether it be your time or gifts,” she mentioned. “Even a smile goes a long way!”

If an individual, family, business, community group or organization would like to become a donor, please contact the “MFL MarMac Angels Helping Angels” Facebook page or call Brandi at (563) 880-1266.

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