HUNTSVILLE, Ala.- The curtain pulls back with a grand gesture on the count of three, and one-hundred pairs of eyes light up at the sheer abundance of presents on stage. For under that tree are more than 300 gifts that Army Contracting Command employees have bought, wrapped, and are donating to the first-grade students at Louis J. Morris Elementary School as part of the Angel Tree Program.
The Angel Tree Program provides new gifts and toys to thousands of children who may otherwise might not have had anything for Christmas. ACC delivered the gifts to Morris Elementary, their Adopt-A-School partner, this year for a second year in a row on Dec. 15.
"This is something we look forward to doing, this is also what the holiday season is about," said Keith Jackson, ACC chief of staff. "It's a season to give rather than receive, and it's a joy we look forward to, to come out and bring gifts to these children."
After Thanksgiving, a small committee from ACC puts a Christmas tree up in the headquarters lobby with tags from the school. The tags are labelled with a child's name, age, and three gifts that they are wishing for this Christmas.
These gift requests run the gamut, from bicycles to video games to socks. Employees are then offered the opportunity to pick a tag and purchase gifts, either on the wish list or of similar interest.
The week before Christmas break, employees are offered the opportunity to deliver the gifts to the students.
"We are so thankful for what the Army does for us," said Patty Boyd, Morris Elementary principal. When they think of the kids like this, it's so special. We are so honored and blessed when ACC comes out for this day. So many hearts are opened because of what ACC does."