The Town of Pima is once again helping to bring food to the table and put gifts under the tree with a Wish Tree.
Four wish trees have been placed in the Pima Town Hall and are ready for the community to make wishes come true. The trees are for families and seniors within the Pima school district who may go without a Christmas this year if not for the contributions of toys and necessities from local gift-givers.
Pima Councilwoman Sherrill Teeter, who began organizing the wish trees three years ago, said local schools identify potential wish recipients. This year 22 families are participating.
In November, Teeter collects information from local school nurses about families who may appreciate gifts on Christmas. After contacting the families, Teeter writes the age of the child and what each child would like for Christmas on a slip to be placed on one of the wish trees.
During the month of December people from all over the county come to Pima Town Hall to pick up the slips to purchase a gift for the children. The gifts are then returned to the hall to be delivered on Christmas Eve by Pima Police Department officers. Elderly individuals can also have a slip on the wish tree. The names of the gift givers and receivers are kept anonymous.
“Last year we had a private citizen, totally anonymous, donate Walmart gift cards so the families can get something for their kids,” Teeter said. “It fills my heart. These people come out of nowhere and do this. It helps.”
Several of the families also receive Thanksgiving meals; community members contact town hall employees months in advance to pay for the meals.
“I love that we have a very caring community and we can come together when we need to,” Teeter said.
She loves to hear the sound of the children’s excitement as the presents are brought in to Town Hall, Teeter said.
“Just hearing the kids get so happy about just a few gifts from under the tree is amazing, just hearing them say, ‘Santa Clause brought us gifts?’ I love to hear that, it makes my year,” she said.
Teeter has found she is not the only one who is grateful she can help make the holidays better for local families. After dropping a wrapped present off, someone left a note in one of the trees for the town employees.
“The note in the tree said, ‘Thank you for helping us grant little wishes,’” she said.
The identities of the recipients of the gifts as well as the donors are kept secret.
“I would like to see other councils in the future follow the lead so we can help even more people in the valley,” Teeter said.