What an amazing Angel Tree event Upbring had in 2023! Thanks to your support, we were able to bring goodwill and cheer to hundreds of Texas children across the state and carry on an Upbring holiday tradition that started more than 20 years ago.
Altogether, Upbring wrapped and delivered Christmas gifts to more than 400 children in our programs statewide—that’s more than double the number in 2022 and double the tidings of joy.
Angel Tree is a local gift drive that coincides with the holiday season—a way for the community to promote child wellbeing by providing toys and clothing to those in need. More than 35 churches, community partners and businesses participated in our event which kicked off Nov. 1 and ended in mid-December.
“My daughter and her fiancé were foster parents and we’ve seen firsthand where children in foster care come from and what they have experienced,” said Ronnie Moore, owner of Premier Waterworks in Lubbock. He and his employees pooled their money to purchase gifts for our children. “It’s heartbreaking and if I can help change the lives of those less fortunate, then I want to do it to the best of my ability.”
Local churches, our Foster In Texas (FIT) offices and Upbring headquarters displayed actual Christmas trees with angel tags on which children wrote what gift they wanted from Santa.
“I am always amazed at the excitement exhibited by the members of our congregation as they anticipate seeing the Upbring Angel Tree at the back of the church,” shared Cathy Zwernemann, a member of Faith Lutheran Church in Austin. “They can’t wait to choose their special angel! The Upbring Angel Tree program embodies the love, hope and joy of Christmas.”
Meanwhile, our virtual Angel Tree also allowed donors to purchase gifts online, and they could volunteer for our gift-wrapping event.
“The beauty of our virtual tree was that donors could support Upbring as a whole, bolstering our many programs and services; or they could purchase a specific gift from a child’s wish list which our volunteers later wrapped,” said Holly Raymond, Chief of Community Engagement for Upbring. “We had over 50 Angel Tree volunteers which was just incredible!”
Upbring employees delivered the gifts to our program offices, which organized Christmas parties with goodies and fun activities. While most gifts went to children in our foster care program, those in our Early Head Start (Bexar County), New Life Children’s Center, and Krause Children’s Shelter also had their holiday wishes come true, as well as young adults in Upbring’s BeREAL programs.
Toni Peters, Area Director for FIT-Fort Worth, reported that the annual “Breakfast with Santa” hosted by Calvary Lutheran Church in Richland Hills was well attended by children and families who decorated gingerbread houses together and had their pictures taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus. “To see their smiles as they expressed their gratitude for Upbring was heartwarming,” said Toni.
We couldn’t have done it without you! Thank you for making a lasting impact on the lives of these exceptional children; for restoring a sense of normalcy in their lives and giving them memories to last a lifetime.
Events like Angel Tree empower everyone to promote the wellbeing of children and families in our Texas communities, and to help break the cycle of child abuse and neglect. For more information on becoming an Upbring partner, visit Upbring.org/Get-Involved.