Angel Tree means Christmas dreams for almost 200 kids

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton helped highlight the needs of abused and neglected children in Fayette County Tuesday morning, when she lit the annual CASA of Lexington Angel Tree.

The tree represents the holiday wish lists of 182 Fayette County children who have suffered abuse or neglect. Sponsors can pick children from the tree and purchase them gifts – a process being handled virtually this year due to the pandemic.

“The pandemic has been so hard on many people … it has been especially hard on these children,” Gorton said during the virtual CASA Angel Tree lighting ceremony.

But the pandemic has also “brought out the best in Lexington,” Gorton said. “We have good people in Lexington who do this sort of thing, have a great heart. We are a generous community. Through the (CASA Angel Tree) program, we make sure that local children who are in need have a Christmas, have a holiday.

“CASA and its dedicated volunteers serve a special purpose in our community. In difficult situations, they focus on what’s in the best interest of the child,” Gorton continued. “… They provide stability in the lives of these children.

James H. Frazier III with the McBrayer Law Firm, the sponsor of the CASA Angel Tree kickoff, announced the firm’s members had already stepped up to sponsor holiday gifts for more than 70 of the 182 CASA children on the tree.

“As always, the McBrayer Firm is proud to be a sponsor and proud to participate in this wonderful organization,” said Frazier, who is Managing Member of the firm. “It’s been a tough year for all of us. It’s been a hard year for this law firm, for all law firms, for all folks. And these kids have had a tougher year than all of us put together.”

CASA of Lexington Executive Director Melynda Jamison explained the nonprofit is asking community members to step up and sponsor children, as well, so that every child with a CASA volunteer in Fayette County can have a slightly brighter December.

“During 2020, as I’ve become overwhelmed, I’ve stopped and thought, ‘What can I do right here, right now?’” she said. “For me, CASA is one of those things we can do right here, right now.”

Sponsoring a CASA Angel Tree child looks a little different this year, thanks to the pandemic. Instead of picking an envelope off a physical tree, sponsors can email angeltree@casaoflexington.org to sign up. Preferences such as boy/girl or age range can be listed in the email. Sponsors will receive their child’s wish list, as well as information about how to drop the gifts off to CASA of Lexington.

“You don’t even have to leave your couch, if that’s where you’re at,” she said.

Jamison noted there are other ways community members can help, as well:

  • An Amazon wish list of frequently requested gifts is available at bit.ly/casa-angel-tree-2020, enabling supporters to buy one or two gifts, which will then be allocated to whichever children still need additional gifts.
  • Donors can help cover the cost of providing a CASA volunteer (about $1,000 annually) by visiting www.casaoflexington.org and clicking “Donate Now.”
  • Anyone interested in becoming a CASA volunteer and making a difference in the future of local children’s lives can ask for more information by emailing info@casaoflexington.org or apply by visiting www.casaoflexington.org/advocates.

During the tree-lighting ceremony, Gorton announced she is sponsoring a little girl from the tree.

“I just want to urge our citizens that even in a pandemic, one of the worst years we’ve ever had in many ways … let’s make sure every child has a wonderful Christmas,” Gorton said.

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