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Paper angels.

What do you think of when you hear paper angels?

Do you think of Christmas decorations like those going up around town on city street light posts, businesses, homes?

Maybe paper angels should evoke thoughts of children in the community who, without generous neighbors, don't have hope of seeing gift-wrapped parcels under the tree.

Nearly 200 paper angels decorate two slim Christmas trees -- one in each of the banks in town. These 178 angels represent 178 children from 70 families who need you and me. These paper angels represent children who might not otherwise receive gifts this holiday season.

Will you help?

According to the Pea Ridge Ministerial Alliance, "Since the gifts you provide will probably be the only ones this child will receive, we are requesting that you spend a minimum of $75 and no more than $100 per child."

The average family in northwest Arkansas probably spends $75-$100 eating out at restaurants or picking up treats or specialty coffees. If you pick up coffee at a drive-through on your way to work and spend from $5 to $10, you've spent as much as $50 in one week. Could you sacrifice that for the happiness of a child?

"We always hope that children will receive both clothes and toys," the Ministerial Alliance letter states. "If you are unable to provide both, please indicate on the outside of the package and we will try to balance the gifts. We fully understand that some of the gifts requested may be excessive and we do not expect you to buy all of them. We suggest necessity items first.

"Please return all packages, unwrapped, to the Pea Ridge City Hall or to the First Baptist Church, Arvest or Equity Banks in Pea Ridge by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5. Include on the outside of the package the tag with the child's ID number so we will know where it goes."

Contributors may also donate gift wrap, ribbons, bows, or tape. For an additional $10 donors may purchase a Food Care Package (22 items) for the family of their child. Make the check out to First Baptist Church Pea Ridge.

Sometimes we think of the impoverished children seen on television screens from around the world, but too often we don't think of the children in our community who may be doing without necessities and certainly without niceties. School nurses, counselors and teachers see the need. Sometimes the police see the need when they respond to a call and see children in homes without basic necessities.

Earlier this year, someone sent The TIMES a request to post on social media a request for assistance. This lady said she was humiliated to ask for help and wanted it to be anonymous. She was gravely concerned about her children and didn't want them teased or embarrassed.

I must admit, in my younger days, I was skeptical and fearful of giving charity because of people who take advantage of other people's generosity. But, as I've aged, and struggled, and gone through trials I couldn't have imagined, I heave learned much.

We are not responsible for the choices of the parents of the children in need. We can give to children who are suffering without condoning bad choices.

So, be an angel -- pick up a paper angel, or two, or three off the trees at Arvest or Equity banks and "play Santa" for children of our community.

•••

Editor's note: Annette Beard is the managing editor of The Times of Northeast Benton County, chosen the best small weekly newspaper in Arkansas for five of the past six years. A native of Louisiana, she moved to northwest Arkansas in 1980 to work for the Benton County Daily Record. She has nine children, five sons-in-law, eight grandsons and three granddaughters with another grandchild due next year. The opinions expressed are those of the author. She can be reached at abeard@nwadg.com.

Editorial on 11/28/2018

Print Headline: Be an angel -- pick up a paper angel today

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