When the Giving Tree was erected on Nov. 8, there were 362 tags dangling from the green, leafy limbs. Inscribed on each small piece of paper were the holiday wishes of boys and girls at elementary schools across Kittitas County.
A full month later, presents of all shapes and sizes now line the walls of the Center for Leadership and Community Engagement — the office that has sponsored the event for 18 years running. With today being the last day of the season to return gifts, the overflowing piles of gifts get bigger and bigger as people pour in with presents in hand.
Some could say it’s a Christmas miracle. Others could say it’s not a miracle; it’s the goodwill and benevolence of the community giving to children at a time when they need it most. Not everyone gets to experience the holidays the same way, and it’s through the Giving Tree that the CLCE has ensured every kid — regardless of their family’s economic situation — receives a gift.
When I walked by the CLCE office, I was blown away by the literal piles of presents waiting to be distributed to children in the county. I could see the presents in the main entryway and in the bookcases to the left and right of the doorway, but what I couldn’t see were the larger piles of presents in the back of the office.
362 tags were taken within weeks of the Giving Tree going up, and while the CLCE doesn’t know how many presents have been returned yet, it’s safe to assume this year has been one of the best yet. People in the community are really giving Santa a run for his money.
So if you’re still waiting to return a gift for the Giving Tree event, remember to drop them off at the CLCE office by 5 p.m. today.
Oh, and happy holidays from CWU Hype!