Sandy Bellosillo (left), vice president of the Campbell River Angel Tree Society and Dawn Hamilton (president) start adding tags to this year’s tree in the lobby of the Discovery Inn. The tags will be available for people to take as of Friday Nov. 30 at 4 p.m. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

Be an angel this Christmas for a child in need

Angel Tree is a 30+ year-old initiative that brings joy to those less fortunate in Campbell River

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

For Dawn Hamilton it is, anyway.

It’s also the busiest.

Hamilton has been organizing the community’s Angel Tree initiative for the past “eight-or-so” years. It’s a ton of work, she says, but it’s also super rewarding.

“I’d been involved with the Angel Tree in some capacity for about 13 years,” Hamilton says. The first year, she saw the article about the tree in the Mirror, went down to the tree and took a tag. The next year she asked if they needed help wrapping, which they did. The year after that she was helping coordinate. Now she’s in charge.

For those who somehow don’t know about the 30-or-so-year-old initiative, the Angel Tree is a Christmas tree that goes up in the lobby of the Discovery Inn, decorated with lights and ornaments just like any other festive conifer. This one, however, is also covered with tags that community members can come remove from the tree.

Each tag has the age, gender and needs of a child in our community who might not be getting any Christmas gifts this year. The person – or family or business or community group – who takes the tag off the tree heads off, shops for the items on the tag and brings them back so they can be given to the child.

For example, one tag on the tree this year is for a 13-year-old boy who needs a shirt (he’s a size medium), pants, underwear, socks, shoes and a sweater. He’s into rocks, crystals and minerals and his favourite colours are orange, black and red.

“So if you were to pull this tag, you might go and buy the socks and pants and a couple of crystals,” Hamilton says. “You’re not, in any way, obliged to buy everything that’s on here.”

That’s because Hamilton and her crew use whatever monetary donations that are given each year to “top-up” the children’s lists once everything has been collected and they go through it all. They’ve recently become a registered charity, too, so those monetary donations are now eligible for a tax receipt.

“We’d been thinking about going that direction for a couple of years,” Hamilton says. “We’ve had to turn away businesses, in particular, who wanted to donate what would have possibly been large amounts of money, because they needed it to go to a registered charity. They needed that tax receipt.”

So they set up a board of directors – of which Hamilton is president – and became a society. Then they went the proverbial extra mile and became a charity.

They’re hoping the potential extra funds they can gain from being able to issue tax receipts will help them keep up with the increasing demand. This year, Hamilton says, will see the largest amount of tags ever placed on the tree. She expects to break 400 tags this year for the first time.

“Right now, we’re at 384, but it’ll grow, because we always get last minute ones from the agencies we partner with,” Hamilton says. They partner with seven community social service agencies that support families in our community who supply the information of the children in need, many of whom wouldn’t get a gift at all this year if it weren’t for this initiative.

The tree officially opens for the public to come take tags as of 4 p.m. Friday (Nov. 30), coinciding with Starlight Shopping. The volunteers will be there until 9 p.m. that night and then every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. until Dec. 9.

For more information, you can contact them through their Facebook page (@downtownangeltree) or by email at angeltreesociety@gmail.com or head down and talk to them at the Discovery Inn.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Make a contribution to the Virtual Canada Day – upload pics, videos to new website

The Campbell River Canada Day Committee has launched a new website to… Continue reading

Storm acquire Corrado from KIJHL Nitehawks

Forward Brendan Murray heads to Beaver Valley in trade deal

Friendly Cove and Kyuquot will remain closed until further notice

Transition of other B.C. communities will be monitored before a decision to ease restrictions

VIDEO: Campbell River stunt-riding youths’ ATVs impounded

Two youths stunt riding on their ATVs on Saturday, May 30 had… Continue reading

VIDEO: Campbell River RCMP urge respect and patience as people emerge from restrictions

As restrictions start to lift on people’s movements in the communities and… Continue reading

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Mirror business directory and map

If you’d like to be added to the list, shoot us an email

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo shore

DFO marine mammal rescue unit arrived as whale broke free from prawn trap line

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

B.C.’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics goes virtual

The annual event partnering RCMP with Special Olympians is dramatically altered by COVID-19

Most Read