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Elkhorn Middle School Band supports Angel Tree in a big way…
EMS band students took on a special project this holiday season to support the community. As Band Director Chris Collins contemplated ways the band could do this year to help those in need, he realized that one of his band parents, Natalie Sayre, is a major in the Salvation Army.

Sayre agreed to speak to the band students about the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program, which allows individuals and organizations to sponsor someone in need during the holidays.

“My kids have really exceeded expectations and shocked me with this one,” says Collins. “I was trying to think of something special our band family could do this time of year to help those in need. The band students were very excited, and each grade level got two angels (six total) to help this season. The kids brought in more than $1,000 to shop for these six children!”

Several of the band students went to Wal-Mart this Saturday to shop for the “angels.” These photos show the group at Wal-Mart, with Mr. Collins and EMS Life Skills Teacher Kelli Coblin.

According to Major Sayre, the Salvation Army Angel Tree program began in 1979 in Lynchburg, Virginia. The program matches children in need (“angels”) with sponsors in the community who assist by purchasing new Christmas toys and clothing. Each sponsor gets an angel tag that provides basic information about an angel, including their name, age, gender, clothing sizes and a wish list. The sponsors then shop anonymously for the angels and return the gifts to The Salvation Army, which distributes them to the families.

This year, The Salvation Army in Franklin and Anderson counties has more than 500 angels representing 300 families. Angels can be newborns to 14 years of age or older than 62.

After shopping this weekend, the band was able to provide toys and clothing for their original six angels. On top of that, they purchased gifts for two senior citizens and were able to purchase additional gift items for their 12-14 year-old angels and still had a few dollars left over to donate to the Angel Tree program.