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www.mybaycity.com December 19, 2002
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Project coordinator Erin Dunkla
checks Project Angel bags

Angels work to help as many as possible to have Happy Christmas

Local Red Cross chapter fills the gaps to brighten the holidays

December 19, 2002       Leave a Comment
By: Stephen Kent

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For over ten years the East Shoreline Chapter of the American Red Cross has worked to insure that as many people as possible have a good Christmas with their Project Angel. This year packages will be distributed to 871 local families. Debra Monroe, Executive Director of the chapter, explained that "the purpose of Prject Angel is to fill the gaps. The marines have "Toys for Tots", Created for Caring does "Coats for Kids", the Salvation Army provides food baskets. Project Angel provides cleaningproducts, personal hygine items and baby supplies. These are items most of us take for granted, but for families in need they are essentials which are not covered by most forms of assistance. Providing these items helps families stretch their limited resources just a bit farther during the Christmas season and perhaps purchase things they would otherwise skip".

From a modest start helping about 70 families, Project Angel has grown to become a major undertaking. This year's Project Angel budget is $10,000. The project is largely funded by the sale of $1 paper angels by schools and businesses. Angels are signed and posted in windows and on walls to remind everyone of the joy that comes from helping others. Additional funds come as grantsfrom civic organizations such as Kiwanis and the Optomist clubs.

Although the Red Cross will assist anyone who can demonstrate a need, the majority of those receiving Project Angel bags are referred by the Family Independence Agency. Familiescome to the East Shoreline Chapter office at 228 Washington to pick up their bags. All bags are distributed on Thrusday, December 19 and Friday December 20.

Jamie Porsch organizes bags ready for distributionAn essential part of any effort this large is volunteer help. For several weeks students from Handy Intermediate, church youth groups, and the Red Cross chapter's own youth groups have been coming in every day to fill bags, handle phone calls, do data entry and help organize the effort. On distribution day more volunteers will be on hand to insure that everyone is served.

Project Angel is a true blessing to many families who need a little help. Project coordinator Erin Dunkla said "the need in Bay County is far greater than most people realize. The simple contribution of a dollar or a five dollar bill to Project Angel goes so far to help those that need it. The gift is truly appreciated."

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Stephen Kent

Steve Kent and his family have lived in Bay City for 40 years. He is VP of Technical Services at MMCC which produces MyBayCity.Com. Kent is active in many Bay City civic organizations.

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