ARCADIA — Throughout December, Ashley’s Angels volunteers were busy shopping and filling semi-trailers with food, clothing and toys for children in need. This year the non-profit was able to bring Christmas cheer to 1,220 children across the country.
Ashley trucks, filled with gifts, Santa, and his elves, made deliveries to more than 80 school districts in the communities surrounding Ashley’s manufacturing and distribution facilities in Wisconsin, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.
This year, the non-profit organization along with Ashley employees raised $290,028 in support of the program.
The all-volunteer organization worked with local churches and schools to identify children in need of extra assistance. Every child in the program, along with sibling(s), received winter apparel and shoes (as needed), clothes, a blanket and a special Christmas present. Each child’s family also received a Christmas dinner.
“The volunteers of this organization are truly selfless. I am so proud of their fundraising efforts throughout the year that allow them to bring cheer to so many children in need during the holiday season,” said Shari Wagner, president of Ashley’s Angels. “Ashley’s Angels continues to grow and have a positive impact on families across the country; and at the same time inspires others to get involved and give back to their communities.”
The Ashley’s Angels program was established by an Ashley Furniture truck driver from Mississippi in 1997 after he heard about a girl who was living in a car with her mother.
The Ashley driver recruited help from fellow drivers to provide food, clothing, and additional assistance by helping the family find proper housing before Christmas. Seeing the impact their efforts had made in this family’s life encouraged those involved to form Ashley’s Angels.
Each December, volunteers line up to shop for the selected recipients. Shoppers are provided a Christmas list with each child’s age, gender, clothing sizes and special interests to shop for. The gifts are then wrapped and loaded onto Ashley trucks and delivered to participating schools for distribution to the families the week before Christmas.
“I enjoy being a part of an organization that gives back so much to the children in our local communities,” said Heather Bailey, Ashley’s Angels of Wisconsin. “Our volunteers shopped for 435 children in two days. It is always fun to do the shopping but it’s more memorable to see the joy brought to the children’s’ faces when they receive the gifts.”
Ashley’s Angels encourages anyone interested in volunteering at next year’s shopping event to sign up online at www.ashleyangels.org under the Volunteer tab or email firstname.lastname@example.org with their contact information.