University of the Ozarks Women (UOW) is entering its third decade of bringing Christmas joy to underprivileged children in Johnson County.
In 1992, Ozarks teacher education professor Dr. Carol Yandell encouraged members of University of the Ozarks Women to help out with a new community Christmas project. Partnering with Joy Wilson from Children and Family Services, and with the aid of the Helping Hands organization, UOW helped make that a brighter Christmas for 30 children in the county.
Twenty years later, nearly 900 needy children are expected to receive assistance this year through the Christmas Angels program.
Once the families apply for assistance, UOW members and other volunteers then work tirelessly to create anonymous coded labels to correspond to each child. The labels are attached to angel ornaments and either placed on Christmas trees or distributed to various businesses.
Each angel ornament contains information about the child’s age, gender, color preferences, and clothing sizes.
Wilma Harris, chair of the Christmas Angels committee, said, "We’ve made a commitment that each child on our list will receive at least one outfit, and one major toy. There are many children in this program who won’t receive any toys at Christmas, other than the ones they get through this program."
If you would like to adopt an angel for this Christmas, angel trees have been setup in Mabee Administration Building on the University campus, as well as at Walmart, Atwoods, Johnson Regional Medical Center, First Security Bank, and Arvest Bank. A number of other local businesses are collecting gifts and monetary donations for the project.
The deadline to turn in angel tree gifts is Monday, Dec. 3, and UOW will accept monetary donations toward the project at any time during the year.
If you’d like to make a donation to the Christmas Angels project, contact Wilma Harris at 479-979-1212. Remember that every gift, no matter how large or how small, helps make a difference in a child’s Christmas!
Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. Brian McFarland’s Critical Inquiry class helped decorate the Christmas Angels tree located in the Mabee Administration Building.
Topics: Community Service