Christmas is magical! And without question, children eagerly await Santa's Yuletide arrival with "visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads." To help make sure that Christmas dreams do come true, the Theta Omega chapter of ESA has renewed its commitment to the Giving Tree Project.
This effort – a cherished tradition in the Vermillion community – will be led by Earleen Varns (605-638-0966). Currently serving as ESA president for the entire state of South Dakota, Earleen is exceptionally busy….but not too busy for the Giving Tree. Earleen said, "I simply can't imagine stepping back from this tremendous community project. In fact, I can't wait to get started this year!"
Giving trees – by now a familiar sight in Vermillion – will be set up during the week of Thanksgiving. Locations for this year include HyVee, Market Street Café, Nook and Cranny, Polaris, Pump & Pak, Sanford Hospital, Wal-Mart, Whimps, Vermillion Ace Hardware, and USD North Dormitory Complex. These Christmas trees will be ornamented with gift tags for hopeful children and teens from the Vermillion area.
Interested community members may select a gift tag, shop for that child (hand crafted gifts are welcome, too), attach the ESA gift tag, and return present(s) to any of the locations listed above. If anyone prefers to make a monetary donation, such envelopes will be available (alternately, donations may be sent directly to Earleen Varns at 983 Crestview Drive). In mid-December, ESA members will gratefully and enthusiastically collect, organize, package, and distribute all gifts.
In 2011, the Giving Tree Project was hugely successful: a total of 262 children from 109 families awoke on Christmas morning to learn of Santa's nocturnal visit. ESA hopes to equal – or surpass – this triumph in 2012. Knowing that a successful outcome hinges on the shared Christmas spirit of so many, the members of the Theta Omega chapter would like to acknowledge the community's generosity and offer an advance heartfelt thank you to every contributor.
Gayle Bliss, a dedicated member of ESA for many years, captured the essence of this holiday project. She reflected, "We are put on this earth to help our fellow man. Christmas is a special time for us to reach out and put smiles on the faces of our children. As a result, this Giving Tree Project is pure joy. "