By Zachary Hada, 55th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 07, 2018
Capt. Matthew Brantley, 55th Wing chaplain, opens a tags on an Angel Tree in Strategic Air Command chapel Dec. 6, 2018, at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. Each year, Team Offutt members pull ornaments from the base chapels with a child’s description and their desired gift, and purchase the gift to be given anonymously. (U.S. Air Force photo by Zachary Hada)
Tags stand ready to be taken on an Angel Tree in the Strategic Air Command chapel Dec. 6, 2018, at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. Each year, Team Offutt members pull ornaments from the base chapels with a child’s description and their desired gift, and purchase the gift to be given anonymously. (U.S. Air Force photo by Zachary Hada)
With the holidays fast approaching, the 55th Wing Chapel is partnering up with base first sergeants to support the Angel Tree program.
This annual program is a toy and clothing drive, running until Dec. 16, to help Offutt families who are in need.
The trees, adorned with paper angel tags, can be found in the on-base and off-base chapels. On the inside of the tag is a description of whether the child is a boy or girl, their clothing size and what the special items are that the children wants for Christmas.
“Angel Tree is a charitable program that we do every year around the Christmas season to help provide a happy Christmas to families and children in need,” said Capt. Matthew Brantley, 55th Wing chaplain. “The Offutt Chapel gets together with the first sergeants of the base to find out who in their respective squadrons desires to participate.”
This is a confidential and voluntary program - names are never given out as to what child and families are in need. The angles on the trees are marked with a numeric code, instead of names.
“We don’t know anyone’s hardship - why they can or cannot provide a Christmas to their child and the thing is, we don’t ask,” said Brantley. “This is completely voluntary for whoever desires to participate. This is not by rank, so it’s open to all ranks and civilian contractors.”
Once the gift drive is complete, the gifts are organized into their respective squadrons and the first sergeants collects the gifts and ensures they reach the right families.
“It’s an opportunity to give, show love and put a smile on people’s faces who’ll you’ll never see,” said Brantley. “As a chaplain, to know that you’re being a blessing to someone else who you may never come into contact with is the biggest gift of this process.”
For more information on the Angel Tree program call the 55th Wing Chaplains office at (402) 294-6244.