Christmas Angels project currently underway

Release Date: 11/11/2010

Clarksville, Ark. --- The annual University of the Ozarks Women (UOW) Christmas Angels Project is currently underway to help families in need throughout Johnson County have a more enjoyable Christmas.

The UOW Christmas Angels project, in coordination with the Department of Human Services (DHS), has been in existence for 17 years. The project provides gifts of toys and clothing for children newborn to age 18 in Johnson County from families with financial need. Parents and guardians of these children applied for the program through the local DHS.

The angel ornaments can be picked up at businesses throughout Johnson County, including at the university’s Mabee Administration Building, Lamar City Hall, Atwoods, Walmart Supercenter, Bank of the Ozarks, Regions Bank, Simmons Bank, First Security Bank, Arvest Bank, Liberty Bank, and the Oark Post Office. Several other businesses and churches in the area are helping to sponsor the project.

The angel ornaments include information such as the child’s gender and age, clothing size, favorite color and suggested toy. The names of the children and families are kept confidential.

A completed Christmas Angels gift box should include one major toy and one complete outfit of clothing (pants and shirts). The average cost for a typical gift box is approximately $35. All gift boxes should be returned to UOW by Nov. 29. Monetary gifts are also accepted by UOW until Dec. 6 to help with unclaimed angels.

UOW members said applications for the project continue to rise each year.

“We’re seeing effects of the economy, where families just don’t have the money for Christmas gifts,” said U of O Registrar Wilma Harris, co-chair of the Christmas Angels. “The people in Johnson County continue to rise to the challenge to make a difference for children during the holidays.”

Last year, the Christmas Angels Project served an all-time high of 883 children from 372 families in Johnson County. More than 30 UOW members and 50 students at the university are expected to volunteer their time in the project.

For more information on the Christmas Angels Project, or to make a gift or monetary donation, please contact the University of the Ozarks at 979-1215.