Story by Ryan Labadens on 01/08/2019The Seabee Memorial Chapel onboard Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) Gulfport launched its Angel Tree program shortly before Thanksgiving for the 2018 holiday season.
The program, which lasts until Dec. 21 this year, is designed to help provide relief from some of the financial pressures for the active-duty, junior-enlisted community when it comes to buying gifts for their children.
"You're providing for families that may not have a whole lot of income, and that gives us a way to give to those folks and help make their holiday special for them and their children," said Lt. Cmdr (Chaplain) Aaron Miller, NCBC Gulfport command chaplain. "It also provides a way for others (the givers) to support their fellow military community and engage in something charitable to help support young military families."
Active-duty junior-enlisted military members ranked E6 and below can fill out a paper angel at the base chapel with information about their child, such as age and gift recommendations (the names of the children and participants will be kept confidential). The paper angels then will be placed on a Christmas tree located by the customer support desk in the NCBC Gulfport Navy Exchange (NEX) up until Nov. 30.
Anyone with base access who would like to donate gifts to a child remove an angel from the tree, then purchase and deliver their gifts to base chapel or to the NEX customer support or the base chapel by Dec. 21, said Miller.
The base chapel staff and other volunteers will then wrap the gifts that day to be picked up by the junior enlisted parents participating in the program.
Ensign (Chaplain) Sara Powell, NCBC Gulfport chaplain, noted another important aspect of the Angel Tree program.
"I think it really helps to capture the spirit of the season, that spirit of giving," said Ensign (Chaplain) Sara Powell, NCBC Gulfport chaplain. "That's one thing we really care about."
Anyone who would like more information and junior enlisted who would like to sign up for the Angel Tree program should contact the Seabee Memorial Chapel at 228-871-2454.