A shiny new bike. Maybe a Hello Kitty doll or a Spider-Man action figure — whatever it is the kids are dreaming of finding under the tree this year, the Lonoke County Christmas Coalition, with the help of local businesses and community members, is working to help make a reality.
The Angel Tree Program, a long-standing Christmas tradition in the Lonoke County area is well under way and hoping to help provide gifts for about 250 families in need this year.
Debbie Atkins, who coordinates the program’s efforts each year, said she would like to have most of the donations in place by this weekend, but that it’s really never too late to help out.
"It’s never too late, and there’s not anything that’s too small," she said.
Atkins encouraged individuals who would like to make a donation, but are unable to do so by this weekend to give one of the Angel Tree locations a call and make arrangements.
"As long as we know it’s coming, we’ll take the help anytime we can get it," she said.
If money is left over after the Christmas season, it will go towards purchasing coats for kids who still need one.
Since many families have more than one child, the number of kids in need amounts to quite a bit more than the number of actual families served, Atkins said.
Still, no one will come up empty-handed and there has never been a year that the program wasn’t able to help every family whose application was accepted, she said.
Big ticket items like video game consoles are not a possibility, but the kids will get presents.
"They are going to get toys and fun things; bikes and scooters," Atkins said.
Angel Tree locations this year include the Lonoke Banking Center and First State Bank, as well as the Wal-Mart in Cabot.
Donations can be dropped off at Bank of the Ozarks in Cabot. Atkins hopes to have the bulk of the gifts sorted out and ready to go by Dec. 19.