angels.wings.jpg

As the holidays draw closer, The Indiana Gazette, in cooperation with ICCAP, has preparations for the Angels’ Wings Christmas program well underway.

This community-driven program, started in the 1960s by the late Lucy Donnelly and the late Rose Reschini, strives to make sure that no one who qualifies will go without during the holidays.

Angels’ Wings is an effort not only for children in need, but for veterans and their families as well. Department of Veterans’ Affairs Director Allen Lockard has seen first hand how the program has aided veterans in the area.

“I’ve seen reactions immediately,” said Lockard, who has volunteered to deliver gifts to recipients. “One family had a father who worked out on the oil rigs and needed practical gifts. We were able to get him steel-toed boots and a jacket. We had presents for the kids and gifts for the mother as well.”

Lockard said upon receiving the gifts, the mother burst into tears.

“She told me the program had given them a Christmas, that they wouldn’t have had one without it.”

Another veteran had applied, asking for educational materials for his autistic son. “The folks who helped with the program got him the things he needed to be more successful in school,” said Lockard.

All of the families that Lockard has interacted with in regard to the program have been nothing but grateful and thankful for the program and those involved, he said.

“They’re so thankful for what they receive,” Lockard said. “And many of them ask what they can do in return. I just tell them to help pay it forward when they’re able.”

Lockard also encourages veterans and their families to apply for the program if they think they’re in need. “Most of the time people know when they’re not going to be in a good place for the holidays,” he said. “But if they’re not sure, I tell them that it doesn’t hurt to apply. Don’t assume that you’re not qualified. So if you think you need it, please go out and apply.”

Lockard plans to continue working with the program and hopes that the community will continue to be involved. “It’s a fantastic program, everyone involved does a great job. To be able to help veterans in need, or to give kids toys for Christmas, it’s a really special thing.”

For anyone interested in registering for the program can do so at the ICCAP office, 827 Water St., Indiana, on the following dates: Oct. 28 and 30, and on Nov. 1, 4, 6 and 8. Hours of registration are from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. each day.

Registration is open to those who meet federal poverty guidelines. Veterans are also encouraged to apply. To qualify, applicants must bring:

• Proof of income

• Valid identification for parent or guardian

• Social Security cards for each child and adult living in the household

Area shoppers will begin to see the Angels’ Wings trees pop up in stores and other county locations as the holiday season approaches. These trees have tags on them with a child’s requests for gifts. Those interested in giving may pick a tag from a tree, purchase the gift, then return the unwrapped gift (tag attached) to any Angels’ Wings tree location. You may also choose to adopt a family by providing gifts and a Christmas meal to each member of the family.

For more information about the program call the Gazette at (724) 465-5555, send an email to angelswings@indianagazette.net or check out the Angels’ Wings Facebook page. For questions about volunteering, call Linda Donnelly at (724) 388-3841.