WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – A regional department store chain is helping spread cheer to hundreds of community members who risk getting overlooked this holiday season. It’s teaming-up with shoppers to make sure local children, the elderly and veterans in need aren’t forgotten. Eyewitness News Reporter Mark Hiller explains how you can help.
The tree shopper Kelli Howatch of Pittston was checking out Wednesday was artificial, but the tags on it revealed a need that’s very real. “It seems like you know this year I think in general there’s just more people,” she said. Nearly 700 people, in fact, whose names and needs are reflected on what are called Boscov’s Angel Trees.
Each tree is dedicated to helping people in four particular groups: Salvation Army, Area Agency on Aging, Children and Youth Services or veterans in the community. Many of the tags have a wish list that’s heartbreaking. This is for a one-year-old boy named Malachai. And besides asking for basic clothing, it requests things like diapers, wipes and push toys.
With the deadline to fill these requests just a week away, there’s a growing sense of urgency. “We need help with this tree. There is a lot of tags on here,” said Boscov’s Regional Public Relations Manager Irene Kelly.
While the veterans tree tags have all been filled, a couple dozen tags remain on the Area Agency on Aging Angel Tree. A simple, inexpensive thing like a sweater, shawl or piece of costume jewelry is what can make a world of difference for a homebound or nursing home resident explained Ms. Kelly. “They don’t have family or they do have family but far away. This is the only thing they get.”
And what’s in it for shoppers? The answer, simply, is a lot according to Ms. Kelly who said, “Our community that walks in this store when they see this it makes them feel good and especially, you know, every tree is important.” Ms. Howatch added, “I think it just feels really good to know that you can help somebody brighten their day or somebody in need.” And spread the spirit of the season to somebody who may need it the most.
Boscov’s Angel Tree program wraps up next Wednesday at its Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Pottsville and Hazleton area locations.