Roanoke, Va. (WFXR) — The Roanoke City Department of Social Services Angel Tree has been occurring for approximately seven years. It has grown substantially during that time period. The Roanoke DSS currently has 182 angels on the tree for the 2020 year; a number that is expected to grow over the month. The angels are children and teens with open foster care and child protective service cases. This program provides these youth with what every child should experience during the holiday season, joy, through thoughtful gift-giving.
It is through sponsorships and community collaboration that supporting these youth in need is made possible.
Christine Carter, Co-founder of G.O.D.S Foundation is working with Freddie’s Annual Toy Drive and Spirit of Unity Baptist Church to sponsor forty-six angels, specifically twenty-three teens and twenty-three children.
“G.O.D.S Foundation actually took on all the teenagers, so we have a list of items that they wanted and we went out and bought pretty much what was on their wish list. Some of the teenagers just ask for gift cards, so we went out and got them gift cards to Best Buy, Target, Walmart, whatever the case may be… so basically if they ask for LeBron’s, we went out and bought them a pair of LeBron’s. Whatever they have on their wish list we made it happen this year.”Christine Carter, Co-founder of G.O.D.S Foundation
While most of the teens are covered, the foundation, Freddie’s Toy Drive, and the church are still working on gathering gifts through a toy drive. Additional gifts will be delivered to the Rescue Mission and other underserved children in the community.
“On December 12th we’re going to have a toy drive here at Spirit of Unity Baptist Church, that’s our first location. The second location is out on Airport Road, it’s in the parking lot in front of Abundant Grace Church.”Pastor Sean Burch, Spirit of Unity Baptist Church
Pastor Sean Burch says it’s very important for them to work together to give back. Pastor Burch personally understands what it’s like to feel displaced during the holidays, as he was in the foster care system for eighteen years, until eventually aging out.
“I know what it means to have to be without. I’m not saying every day was like a bad situation but I had my good days and bad days. I remember my first Christmas in an orphanage at the age of three and my first toy was a Tonka yellow dump truck, and so, it’s meaningful for a foster child or a child that’s at the Rescue Mission to just know that somebody cares enough for them. I’m just blessed that I could team up with Deacon Freddie Johnson and Carlos and his wife Christine because they care about our kids in the community.”Pastor Sean Burch, Spirit of Unity Baptist Church
It is the belief of these organizers that even just one act of kindness can change a life forever. To learn more about the upcoming toy drive, click here.