Sharing Tree begins the giving season

The Montgomery Sharing Tree (pictured left) is located at the office of Aging Services for Communities, 212 1st St. S. A second Sharing Tree is at the Happy Hour Bar, 210 1st St. S, for those who can't make it to Aging Services during business hours to get a tag or drop off gifts. (Wade Young Photos)

 
Program looks to fill 100 gift requests by Dec. 14
 
Each year in Montgomery, the Community Sharing Tree strives to ensure that every person whose request is on the tree feels the touch of the caring community this holiday season.
 
The Community Sharing Tree program seeks to fill about 100 gift requests during the next month for residents, many of whom are senior citizens from Montgomery.
 
The program involves cards on the tree with a requested gift or gifts that total up to $20. Participants pick a card/tag, purchase and put the gift in a gift bag, then return it (with the card) to either Aging Services for Communities or the Happy Hour Bar before December 14. 
 
This is the second year Aging Services for Communities has coordinated and sponsored the program, with the help of the Happy Hour Bar that provides a small Sharing Tree for people to pick  up tags after normal business hours. Karen Hiscox, one of the project’s managers at Aging Services, said the community’s response to the Sharing Tree last year was excellent.
 
“Every request had been filled,” she said.
 
By kicking off the program before Thanksgiving, Hiscox hopes that people will decide to buy a Sharing Tree gift before the start of the pre-Christmas time crunch.
 
“We figured people could get started before Thanksgiving and could do their shopping for Sharing Tree gifts after Thanksgiving too,” Hiscox said.
 
Hiscox said their goal this year was to make the program more personable for the recipients. To achieve this, they are requesting that people do not purchase gift cards, but buy a requested give instead. 
 
“It will mean more to get a gift because it’s more personalized,” she said. 
 
Hiscox said the recipients of this year’s Sharing Tree are from a variety of homes in the area. They live at Traditions, Park Manor, Elm Homes, Sunrise Farms, The Harbor, Central Health Care, Mala Strana, and from Alee Services. She said when the recipients were asked what they would like on their Sharing Tree tag, they  weren’t shy about putting down what they hoped for Christmas this year. 
 
“Men listed cologne, socks, t-shirts, and slippers. The women asked for pajamas, kleenex, Christmas wreaths,” she said. “They’re not fussy. A lot of people asked for chocolate, and diabetic candy.”
 
Because time is needed to process and distribute the gifts by Christmas, the deadline for providing a Sharing Tree gift is 12 p.m. on Dec. 14.
 
The organization also takes cash donations, which are used to buy last-minute gifts for cards that aren't picked up.
 
All the gifts will be delivered by Tri-City United National Honor Society members.