Many in our community are struggling just to meet the everyday needs of feeding and housing their families. For some, gifts under the tree may not be at the top of the list this year.
We know the joy a child feels when there is a special gift just for him or her under the tree. Explanations of unemployment and rising food costs are not in the vocabulary of a young child. They just want to know that on this special day, they are cherished and remembered.
The United Way of Midland County Sharing Tree program helps our community fill the local holiday wishes of those in need. Now in its 25th year, Sharing Tree strives to ensure that every person feels the touch of our caring community this holiday season and throughout the year.
“Sharing Tree is another shining example of our generous community,” shared Ann Fillmore, Executive Director of United Way of Midland County. “We are grateful to the hundreds of people who make it happen. From the local youth groups who lovingly tie ribbons around each tag, to the families who find just the right tag to fill, Sharing Tree has become a symbol of caring for neighbors during the holidays.”
Sharing Tree also helps to meet those basic needs that many are struggling with, including help with utilities, transportation, household items and food.
“It is humbling to spend time reading the requests on tags,” shared Holly Miller, Vice President of United Way of Midland County. “So many of the requests are for things we take for granted—like a warm coat, winter boots, sheets, Consumers gift cards and even a gas card to get to work.”
211 of Northeast Michigan reports that transportation remains one of the greatest unmet needs in our community. The Sharing Tree program offers a way to help. Requests for gas-only cards and Dial A Ride and County Connection tickets will help provide the resources for many hard working families throughout the year. Tickets can be purchased at County Connection, Dial-A-Ride and at Computers To Go in the Midland Mall.
There are Sharing Tree tags out on trees throughout the community, including United Way, K-Mart, Wal-Mart, Northwood University, Wildfire Credit Union, and many area churches, non-profits and local corporations. Computers To Go in the Midland Mall will also host a tree and will serve as the gift drop-off location in the Mall.
Be sure to wrap the gift so that it can be opened during gift-check in, securely tape the tag to the gift and return to any Sharing Tree location by Sunday, December 6th. United Way will continue to accept gifts at their downtown office, 220 W. Main Street, through December 21st. For more information, call United Way of Midland County at (989) 631-3670 or visit www.unitedwaymidland.org.
A group of community individuals and organizations are once again coming together to ensure that no Sharing Tree wish goes unfilled by holding a Holiday Gala. The event will take place on Thursday, December 3rd starting at 6:00 p.m. at The H Hotel. Advance tickets are $40 or $50 at the door. For more information call Peter Baiardi (989) 708-5479.