Christmas is the season of giving, and a remarkable group of people in the Purdy R-2 School District are living examples of brotherly love and generosity.
The Angel Tree project, started over 10 years ago by Patty Laney, is a school-wide effort to provide Christmas gifts to disadvantaged students. Clubs, groups and individuals sponsor the effort to ensure students have gifts to open on Christmas morning.
This year's effort got underway on Nov. 28 and will continue through Dec. 20. The Angle Tree project will benefit about 70 students identified by a committee of veteran staff members who review applications submitted by parents.
Forty-five students have already been chosen for this year's event, with about 25 more on a waiting list. Parents provide a list of clothing sizes and a wish list for each child.
"Sponsors choose a student, identified by a number only, to buy gifts for and return the wrapped items to the elementary office," said Susan Funkhouser, elementary secretary. "I then notify the parents when it's time to pick up the gifts.
"Those who sit on this committee agree these are the hardest decisions they have to make all year," she said.
Funkhouser has received a record number of gift requests this year.
"The economic downturn and lack of job opportunities has hit our community especially hard," Funk-houser said.
Sponsor names are not revealed to the recipient family unless the sponsor is agreeable.
Anyone wanting to sponsor a child can contact Funkhouser at the elementary office at 417-442-3217, ext. 1 or stop by the Purdy Elementary School office during normal business hours, which are from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The effort is open only to students of the Purdy R-2 School District.