Angel Tree Project fills the winter wishes of New Hampshire children

Quinn Hagerty


Staff Writer


Chime the bells, it’s the Angel Tree Project back for another year! Beginning on the first of November 1st, the Angel Tree Project is a way for students and community members to support local, disadvantaged children by purchasing items those children have requested anonymously. The children are young, and the items they request range from winter gear such as gloves or coats to toys like Legos or art supplies. These lists are then hung on a tree so that anyone who has the means to can pick an anonymous child and fulfill their wishes. With 29 years of history of working with Plymouth, the Angel Tree Project has been a longstanding tradition on not just campus, but for the community as a whole.

This year, there are 309 children and teens this year who can be sponsored. “We saw a pretty significant increase during the pandemic” commented Assistant Director of the Office of Community Impact Casey Krafton, “I think we were around 354 … but this year is on average in the low three-hundreds”. The project works with a variety of agencies to service these children, mostly schools and youth centers in the greater Plymouth area who can make sure the children receive what is delivered to them. 

“It’s been going great,”  said Community Impact Coordinator Diana Daigle, speaking on the status of the project currently “I’m happy to be involved with the project this year because as a community member, I’ve seen it going on for several years.” When asked about how students were getting involved in the project, Daigle said “We’ve had a lot of student volunteers … We’ve had students who have been tabling for us, students have been handing out fliers for us, they’ll be helping receive the gifts when we get them in, and then it’s sort of an all hands on deck when we organize them and get them all out.” 

Ultimately, the goal is that every child is serviced. “There hasn’t been a year we haven’t been able to make sure every child gets something.” Said Krafton. The most difficult part, Krafton continued, was fundraising and gathering supplies to meet that goal. “I’ve come to understand the ebbs and flows, but I think for the first couple of years I was always worried if we were going to fill all the wishes … Every year there is a handful [of children] that are not selected or chosen, so it’s just making sure we have enough donations to fill all of those.”

Daigle also commented about the difficulty of spreading the word and marketing, and trying to bring in more members of the community to offer their support – whether that be through sponsoring a child or in a donation. “Finding opportunities for not just faculty students or staff to participate, but finding ways for everyone else to participate.” Said Krafton, discussing Daigle’s continued efforts to involve the community at large. “Whether it press releases or a slide on the Pemi Baker TV or sharing on Facebook groups … I’d love to get more people involved”

The Office of Community Impact is also always offering events for students to volunteer in should they still want to help but are unable to with this project, such as preparing and sharing a meal at The Bridge House Shelter, doing crafts at the Pemi Youth Center, and various other club related pop-up events.

“We’re grateful for all the participation … There are so many causes that people can give to this time of year and such a high need everywhere, so I’m just very thankful for all the people who choose to participate in this project. It’s not something you always get to see the final impact [of], but we know that it does make a significant impact in our community.” Krafton said as some parting words. Daigle continued saying “It gives the greater Plymouth community a chance to do something collaboratively and work with Plymouth State University, which those opportunities don’t always happen often around here. It’s helping local kids, and it’s so great.”

So far, the project has 182 children sponsored, with 915 dollars raised in donations. If you are interested in helping support a child, tags can be picked off of the tree located in the HUB Fireplace Lounge or found online. The final call for all gifts is November 29th through November 30th within the Office of Community Impact.