Giving Back During the Holidays with the Salvation Army of Central Maryland
If you visit BGE HOME’s office during the holidays, one thing you’ll always find is an Angel Tree. An Angel Tree is a Christmas tree whose ornaments, or “angels,” are tags that include a child’s first name, age, gender and gift wish list. Each angel represents a child who comes from a low-income family that cannot afford to put gifts under their Christmas tree.
Every year, the BGE HOME Angel Tree has 50 angel tags that are quickly snatched up by employees who look forward to this holiday tradition. Over the past six years, our employees have provided gifts for Christmas morning to over 300 children in the Baltimore region. Employees express a great sense of happiness when they purchase gifts for their “angels,” knowing that these children will wake up to gifts under their tree on Christmas morning.
The Salvation Army of Central Maryland’s Angel Tree Program
Families who need help providing Christmas presents are referred to the Angel Tree program through local social service agencies and schools. Participants are then interviewed and selected based on need. If a family is selected, an angel tag is created for each child in the family and placed on Salvation Army Angel Trees at local malls, companies and organizations. Donors select an angel tag and purchase the gifts requested on the tag. These gifts are sent to the Salvation Army of Central Maryland to be distributed before the holidays. Gifts include clothing, toiletries, sporting equipment and toys.
BGE HOME has been home to an Angel Tree every holiday season since 2012. This year, we decided to take our commitment one step further by sending volunteers to the Salvation Army’s Christmas toy distribution center.
Christmas Warehouse Toy Distribution
On December 21, 2017, BGE HOME sent 14 employees to volunteer at the Salvation Army’s Christmas Warehouse. There, our team helped organize and distribute toys to families who received gifts through the program. Working with volunteers from around the city helped underscore the magnitude of the Angel Tree program and its impact on the community. It also gave us the chance to meet face to face with the recipients – possibly some who received gifts purchased by a BGE HOME team member.
Of the 14 employees who volunteered, one employee felt an even deeper connection to the program as they were recipients of a similar program when they were a child. Parents of qualifying families could bring their children to a warehouse to pick out two new and used toys for Christmas. The volunteer stated, “One Christmas I picked out a teddy bear with a missing eye and I was so thankful for that gift. Since I experienced something similar when I was growing up, I personally knew what it felt like to be in their [the Angel Tree recipients] shoes.” On the day following our volunteer event, the volunteer’s off day, they went back to participate in the final day of the toy distribution. “Volunteering with BGE HOME during this event was fun, gratifying and heartwarming. The feeling you receive when you give back to the community is priceless.” We couldn’t agree more!
To view more pictures from the toy distribution volunteer event with The Salvation Army of Central Maryland, visit our Facebook page.