Reach out to the needy this holiday

Angel Tree drive looks to help 350 kids

By Thaddeus Miller / tmiller@losbanosenterprise.comDecember 1, 2012 

While many children hope an Apple iPad or maybe a PlayStation 3 will be waiting for them Christmas morning, others are just looking for the basics.

"Over half are clothes and shoes and sweatshirts," said organizer Martie Lloyd, referring to requests from needy youngsters in Los Banos.

Two Angel Trees in town are decorated with ornaments bearing the names of 350 schoolchildren identified as needy by faculty and staff. The trees are found at Coldwell Banker Kaljian & Associates and Rooney's Liquor, both on Pacheco Boulevard.

A Los Banos tradition since 1984, the Angel Tree project is a way for those who can to provide help to those in need, from infants to high-schoolers. Givers and receivers remain anonymous.

Every year there are residents dealing with hardships, Lloyd said. This year is no different, she said, with several mothers battling cancer, a child waiting on a heart transplant and another whose brain tumor was removed, to name a few.

"I want each child to know they are special and someone cares about them," Lloyd said.

Toni Moreno, another organizer and manager of Rooney's Liquor, said her customers are always willing to help.

She has also amassed a team, through Facebook, of people to bake cookies that will accompany Christmas gifts.

Moreno said her favorite part is watching the children's faces as they get gift deliveries.

"I want them to still have hope and faith," Moreno said. "I want them to believe in Santa Claus."

One tree is accessible during Coldwell banker business hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

The public can see the other tree, at Rooney's Liquor, from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at tmiller@losbanosenterprise.com.

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