FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- The Fort Rucker Catholic Parish sponsors the annual Angel Tree which helps needy Families in and around the local community.

The tree will be up at the Main Post Chapel beginning Nov. 20 and people may select tags to purchase presents for children by Dec. 14.

Every year, the parish coordinator receives a list from Army Community Service of Soldiers and a few Department of Defense employees who have received ACS Thanksgiving food vouchers. The names are not given, just the voucher number, and the ages and genders of the children.

"Each one of these children have a tag on our Angel Tree," said Therese Erthal, Catholic Parish coordinator. "People select a tag, or two if they can, purchase an age- and gender-appropriate gift and return it unwrapped to the Angel Tree."

This year there are 458 children on the list.

This means by the end of the program the chapel will probably collect more than 1,000 gifts, Erthal said.

"Once all the gifts are returned, we either gift bag them or wrap them and then sort them to make sure all the tags are accounted for," she said. "Once we know what tags are missing and add to those any tags that still remain on the tree we head off to shop until we drop."

The unit points of contact for the voucher program will stop by on Dec. 15 and pick up their Soldiers' gifts for distribution.

Erthal stressed that this is a chapel program.

"This event could never happen without the outpouring of generosity from the hundreds of people that participate year after year," she said. "It really is a labor of love, with military Families helping military Families."

For more information, call 255-9894.