Angel Tree Giving with a Heartfelt Cause

by Maritime
Categories: 2019, Events, News Archive

With 16 thank you certificates prominently displayed at her work, Cheryl Davies is delighted to be a part of The Salvation Army’s Angel Giving Tree Program. She has been supporting the toy drive for 18 years and has no plans of retiring.

Cheryl is quick to offer the reason for her inspiration, which she shares as two-fold. She says, “I am a part of The Salvation Army Church.” She was introduced to The Salvation Army and its programs from the influence of her family. Originally from the tiny community of Birch Grove, near Glace Bay, Cheryl moved to the Halifax when she was in her early 20s. “My great grandmother was a strong influence, along with my mother and grandmother.” When Cheryl lost her son to illness at the age of 18 months, her mission and generosity grew to a deeper meaning and purpose.

Cheryl began supporting the Angel Tree Giving program when a local shopping mall placed a tree in its lobby with tags for the public to select by age and gender; she decided to carry this program on. To keep her son’s memory alive, Cheryl wanted to help other children have a joyful Christmas by contributing toys, food and clothing. Now employed with Loblaw’s for 33 years, 18 of those years working at her current location, Cheryl took the opportunity to launch a program of her own at a smoke shop inside the Sackville Atlantic Superstore. With permission from management, Cheryl began her mission of supporting as many children as she could by offering her patrons and co-workers the same opportunities to pick a tag from a tree and return with gifts.

“The people came, contributed and it has grown so much during the past 18 years. The management of Atlantic Superstore totally embraced the idea and so did the employees,” says Cheryl. During the first year, Cheryl was given 50 tags and they were all taken. Already this season, almost 300 tags have been selected compared to the total of 400 last year. “The Superstore patrons are very supportive; this is like our own little community.”

Much like her family members, Cheryl’s family continues to support the Angel Giving Tree Program. Her son, now in his late 20s, has taken it upon himself to join his mother in the cause. He is the twin of the son she had lost so he too, has a heartfelt reason to join the community of giving. “My son prepares a package for a two-year old boy each year in memory of his twin brother. Included in the package is a fire truck, which bears a special personal meaning. His grandfather was a volunteer firefighter and when the boys were young, they were each given a fire truck from him,” says Cheryl.

Cheryl’s son recently learned of a family in need at his college campus. To support them, he approached his classmates requesting a collective monetary donation so he could purchase gifts for this family in need. The gifts were purchased and the recipients received the donated gifts. Cheryl’s daughter who lives in Victoria, BC, is also carrying on her Mom’s passion to help others as she contributes to her local Salvation Army Christmas program.

What began as a family influence continues to be a project and mission of compassion, all in memory of a beloved child whose life was brief here on earth. “For me it is a huge family thing. My sister and I dedicated our lives to God several years ago; she was 16 and I was 18 years of age. With God’s help, I have a mission to give to others as I am grateful for the support that I have been given,” says Cheryl.

Visit our Angel Tree Centre in Dartmouth Crossing close to the outdoor playground.