HUNTSVILLE, Ala.--Wiggling in their seats. Tapping their feet. Stretching their heads around one another just to get a look at the stage. Because today…well, today might be their Christmas.
Eighty-three first-graders at Morris P8 received more than 300 gifts Dec. 13 from employees at the Army Contracting Command, secret Santa gifts that they may have never received otherwise.
"I'm pretty happy," said Braelyn, age 6 and one of the gift recipients. "I am thinking I might get doll stuff. These people are really nice to bring us gifts."
For the third year in a row, ACC has participated in the Angel Tree program. Students at Morris, which is ACC's Adopt-a-School partner, reap the benefits of many big-hearted employees.
"This helps some of our struggling parents so much," said Patty Boyd, Morris principal. "I'm so astounded every year at the generosity (of ACC)."
The students make wish-lists of desired presents. The gifts can be everything from as simple as stuffed animals to as grand as bikes. The lists are then placed on a Christmas tree in the ACC headquarters lobby. Employees select a card and purchase gifts for that child, either from the wish list or of similar interest.
"It makes me feel fulfilled to be able to give to those less fortunate," said Kimberly Crear-Gregory, the event coordinator and a security specialist at ACC. "To see the joy on their faces is worth it. I just feel like this is my time to give."
Brig. Gen Paul Pardew, ACC deputy commanding general for Overseas Operations, agreed. He spoke to the students and handed out gifts.
"This is a great time for us to give back to the local community," Pardew said. "It could be a small thing to us, but a huge thing in their world. ACC is proud to be a part of this event."