PITTSBURGH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AIR RESERVE STATION, Pa. --
With holiday celebrations just around the corner, the season of giving is officially here. Over the last decade the 911th Airlift Wing’s Angel Tree has been around to help with holiday cheer.
The Angel Tree Program, which has helped more than 100 personnel, is a way for 911th Airlift Wing members to help out their fellow Airmen who may be in need around the holidays through donations of gift cards, gifts and other necessary items.
“There have been so many generous individuals throughout the years who’ve donated gift cards and items other than gift cards,” said Master Sgt. Ashley Wiley, 911th Maintenance Squadron structural maintenance supervisor and Angel Tree Program coordinator. “Because of the generous amount of donations, last year we were able to help 27 different individuals. Normally it’s closer to 10 or 15.”
The impact of helping an individual around the holidays may be felt deeper than just receiving a needed item; it could help them by alleviating stress that could be an extra burden on them during the holiday season.
“My wife and I had been working hard to recover from a surgery she had after my return from a deployment. Bills were piling up and Christmas was looking bleak for our 3 children, when we received aid from the Angel Tree,” said an Airman who asked to remain anonymous. “We were able to purchase food and a substantial amount of gifts to add under the tree for the kids. We surely felt a lot of love that year, it brought my wife tears with just how much people cared.”
With the global pandemic, this year has been exceptionally difficult and some have been more affected than others.
“It worries me that there are many people affected throughout the base through job loss, or other significant burdens that have trickled down because of the nationwide shutdown,” said Wiley.
Because of this unique kind of uncertainty, any Airman who can help is encouraged to do so.
Members can help by picking an angel ornament off of one of the three Angel Trees, located in the headquarters building, the fitness center, and Perksburgh. They can get a gift card for a dollar amount of his or her choosing and bring the angel and gift card back to the base and give it to their first sergeant, chief, a chaplain or Wiley.
Angel Tree donations are due by Dec. 18 to ensure that they are distributed in time for Christmas.
For more information, you can reach out to your first sergeant or call Wiley at 412-474-8181.