Taking the ‘70s and mixing it with angels inevitably invokes images of Charlie’s famous trio. But these two components will fuse a little differently at the White Rock Elementary Disco Ball and Angel Tree.
After the success of last year’s party – where White Rock Elementary parents descended on the Knights of Columbus Hall to boot-scootin’ boogie – organizers decided that this year it was time for parents to shake their groove things in polyester and bell bottoms.
The adults-only dinner and dance is a great way for parents to get to know each other, says event co-chair Mary Huntress. But she also hopes people will grab an angel or two on their way out.
The paper angels, which will adorn a conspicuous Christmas tree amid the peace signs and paisleys, convey the holiday wishes of children from White Rock families who need a little extra help this year. After selecting an angel, parents can either donate money for gifts or go shopping and pick something out themselves.
Huntress, a service project coordinator for White Rock Elementary’s PTA, says last year’s party resulted in gifts for 25 families and 56 children. On top of presents for their kids, the families also received $25 Wal-Mart gift cards.
“White Rock families have always been very generous, so we’re anticipating that will happen again this year,” Huntress says.
Generosity and gyrating will go hand in hand at the event. Awards will be handed out for “Best Travolta Move,” “Best Farrah Hair” and “Most Groovy Couple.”
“The whole idea is to enjoy time together but also do something worthwhile,” Huntress says. “We feel like it brings our community together and makes our school stronger.”
Nearly three miles north of White Rock Elementary, another angel tree is helping dozens more neighborhood families.
This one started with a run-of-the-mill trip to K-Mart for neighborhood resident Patrick Rogers and his wife, Robin. Inside the department store, they found a tree with paper angels that, instead of the normal requests for toys, listed the needs of nursing home residents.
“We thought: You know, that kind-of makes sense,” Rogers says.
They decided to mimic this approach in their neighborhood shop, Salon Berlin, by adopting roughly 85 residents from Doctors Healthcare Center and making their own angel tree. Their stylists ate up the idea, and clients began grabbing angels from the tree after a cut and color.
What struck Rogers were the requests for necessities such as housedresses, socks and toiletries. Many of the nursing home residents are plagued with Alzheimer’s, lack Medicare, or have outlived their families and are “really, the last of the Mohicans,” Rogers says.
“You look at what these folks are asking for, and you can tell they’re people who don’t have anything,” he says. “For a lot of them, just having someone who will come in for 10 minutes and talk to them is worth more than anything we could give them.”
This will be the fourth year for salon employees and their families to deliver holiday gifts. Their visit has become a tradition for all involved. Rogers recalls one bedridden woman who seemed completely unaware of what was happening, but when he took her hand and wished her a Merry Christmas, she gave his hand a squeeze.
“I knew at that moment that it registered for her, and those are the kinds of stories that keep us going back,” he says.
Salon Berlin puts up its angel tree in early November, and Rogers says people don’t have to spend money at the salon to participate in the program.
“These people have lived long lives,” he says. “This is the least we can do.”