Angel Tree Tradition Continues at Bookshop
"This must be the ugliest Christmas tree in the entire world," Kimberly Daniels, manager of The Country Bookshop, says laughingly as employees begin to decorate it with hundreds of white paper angels.
"It reminds me of that little tree in 'A Charlie Brown Christmas,'" says Janice Reagan, who helped the late Joan Scott put up the bookshop's first Angel Tree in 1994. "But remember what Linus said: 'It's not bad at all, really. It just needs a little love.'"
For the past 17 years, the love has been supplied by hundreds of caring people who have come into The Country Bookshop on Broad Street in downtown Southern Pines, selected an angel from the tree and purchased a book for a needy Moore County child.
More than 8,000 children have received books through the bookshop's Angel Tree program since that first year, and for many it is the only book they have ever personally owned.
This year more than 500 names adorn the tree with names of children from Moore County Head Start programs, elementary schools and exceptional education programs. Teachers submit the name, age and gender of each child they have identified as needing a book to Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop's children's manager, who includes the information on paper angels and hangs them on the little Charlie Brown tree.
Customers then have the opportunity to support the Angel Tree program in three ways: Choose an angel and purchase a book, which is discounted 20 percent; choose an angel and donate money for that child; or simply make a donation, which is then used to select books for one of the angels remaining on the tree.
Many loyal customers of the bookshop look forward to the Angel Tree as much as the children.
"This year," says Tally, "before we even had the tree up, two customers purchased their favorite children's books and requested they be paired with an appropriate child. I have also had three people call to volunteer to wrap and deliver books. It is wonderful to see the excitement generated by this program by so many different people."
For the 10th year, first-grade classes from the Episcopal Day School have planned a field trip to The Country Bookshop to select books with money the children have earned, and Rae Irvine's Technology Club members from Southern Middle also have a long-standing commitment to the Angel Tree program.
"Every year, as the deadline nears, we wonder whether we will be able to fulfill all the requests," says Tally, "but for the past few years, one couple has come in, credit card and wrapping paper in hand, during the week before the books are delivered to be due, purchased books for the remaining angels on the tree and wrapped them."
"We love books, real books, and we want to share that love with a child who may not have the opportunity to own books of their own," say the couple, who choose to remain anonymous. "Donating to the bookshop's Angel Tree is one of our favorite things to do all year."
This year, the deadline for donations is Friday, Dec. 9. The Country Bookshop is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. for the holiday season.
For more information about how to donate or to volunteer to wrap books, call Angie Tally at (910) 692-3211.
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