This is a little late for “Giving Tuesday,” but the angst is fresh so I’m gonna use it. That’s what we writers do. Anyway, I stopped by my daughter’s school today to get an angel from the angel tree. I’ve never contributed to an angel tree and if you haven’t, here’s how it works. Kids and families are asked what they want for Christmas and those items are listed anonymously on a paper angel that gets hung on a tree. Donors pick an angel or two, buy the items, and return them to the tree coordinator, who distributes them.
My daughter’s school sent out a message last week saying it had a tree for students’ families. So I thought, great, I’ll go, pick out an angel, buy some stuff, and I’m done. I looked at that tree expecting to get a nice toy to put a smile on some kid’s face on Christmas morning.
I was not prepared for what I saw. So many of the angels said “socks” or “underwear” or “boots” or “jacket.” I had to look hard for one that asked for a toy. There were a few, but the majority asked for basic items that most of us take for granted. It gave me a knot in the pit of my stomach. These kids weren’t homeless or living in poor areas. They went to school with my daughter. They could’ve been her friends. And I didn’t know.