This year North Lamar’s Athletic Department jumped in ready to take on a new service project by adopting 23 North Lamar angels and providing turkeys for 50 of the district’s families. Athletes in the high school and middle school, along with their coaches, raised close to $7,000 from family and neighbors. While athletes at the high school level were responsible for filling angel wish lists, the middle school athletic department was given the task of supplying turkeys for the food baskets.
Bicycles, video games, action figures, and learning games were among the items on the angels’ wish lists. North Lamar coaches used what time they had with their players to include them in the shopping process.
“The kids did a great job again this year raising money and supporting other North Lamar students who are in need during the holidays,” said Coach Martin Bryant. “Some of our student athletes were involved with this project last year, so the carryover was great. It’s an awesome experience to see how excited they get picking out toys and clothes for another North Lamar student.”
“Distribution of the angel gifts and food baskets is a district-wide and community effort,” said NLISD Nurse Sandra DeFrates. “It begins with those who adopt the angels and provide the food items, to Brookshire’s who supplies us with boxes to build our food baskets, to the district’s campuses, organizations and departments that jump in where needed, and then those who are hands-on during the distribution of it all. We could not do this without everyone’s help.”
On Saturday, December 12, 70 families will receive food baskets for the holidays with gifts going to 125 Christmas angels. Among those are 40 new bicycles or tricycles for youngsters assembled by the NLHS Ag Department.
“Collection of canned and non-perishable food items began in October with the North Lamar vs. Paris Crosstown Showdown Food Drive,” said North Lamar Public Relations Officer Carla Coleman. “In a friendly competition, the two school districts joined forces to generate over 875 food boxes to help the Kiwanis Club of Paris meet the needs of Paris and Lamar County families at Christmas. After meeting their food basket obligations and knowing about North Lamar’s Annual Food Drive, the Kiwanis donated food boxes back to meet the needs of our NL families during the holidays.”
“We were overwhelmed by this donation and were able to cancel our scheduled NL Food Drive,” said DeFrates. “I can’t remember a time that our food needs were met and exceeded this early. We were able to donate approximately 2,000 extra food items to the Powderly Food Pantry.”
North Lamar Nurse Jennifer Elrod added, “In addition to the turkeys donated by individuals, Aaron Parker Elementary, and the Junior High Athletic Department, L-3 Communications out of Greenville surprised us with a generous turkey donation to complete our baskets.”
The North Lamar Angel tree dates back to the early 1970’s when former NLISD nurse Theresa Emerson established the North Lamar Children’s Fund to help student in the district who were in need of shoes, clothes, medication, eye exams, glasses, and other personal needs. One time relying solely on donations from churches, PTO groups, memorials, and individuals, it now relies on contributions from North Lamar personnel, generous donors, and proceeds from the annual Skip, Jump and Run event held in the spring.