The Giving Tree at San Miguel

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The Giving Tree at San Miguel is helping out those less fortunate by offering an opportunity for people to share what they can.

Lindsey Padilla/ El Defensor Chieftain: Reporter The Giving Tree is located in San Miguel’s Parish Hall. It has tags with people’s names, submitted by several agencies in Socorro, who will receive a special wrapped package before Christmas.

The Giving Tree, established in 1984, began at San Miguel School, said tree creator Valerie Moore. This is the Giving Tree’s 28th year.

In the beginning, there weren’t a lot of people who provided gifts for the tree, she said. Over the years, the number of people donating has increased. The tree goes up the weekend before Thanksgiving.

Moore said she started the Giving Tree because she thought about blessings in life, and wanted to share them with the less fortunate in the community.

Last year, 580 gifts were distributed to agencies throughout Socorro. This year, there are 500 tags on the tree with special gift requests. The agencies associated with the Giving Tree include Children Youth and Families, Puerto Seguro, Birthright, El Puente, La Vida Felicidad, Maternal Child Healthcare, Good Samaritan Nursing Home and the literacy program, she said.

“We are grateful to the people and the community who are generous,” Moore said. “Socorro takes care of its own.”

People can take a tag off of the tree located in San Miguel’s parish hall.

The Giving Tree is available after all Masses, and during the week, from 8:30 to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 8:30 a.m. to noon on Friday. People bring gifts for those on the tags and place them under the tree. The gifts are then distributed to the specific agencies.

Moore said the Giving Tree isn’t just for children, it’s for a lot of agencies in town and more have been added throughout the years. Most agencies request gifts for specific people, but don’t put a name publicly. Other agencies, such as Puerto Seguro, El Puente and Birthright, give the gifts to people as they come in and there are no specific names, she said.

The Giving Tree helps give the community a chance to reach out to its less fortunate, she said. The agencies pick-up the gifts by Dec. 17 and the gifts are distributed by Dec. 18. The gifts are always wrapped, and the biggest agency associated with the Giving Tree is Puerto Seguro, which asks for sleeping bags, blankets and warm gloves for people, she said.

“As many years as we have done it, it’s amazing how generous people are,” Moore said. “In the past, people have donated computers, TVs and bikes for kids. We appreciate everyone who contributes.”

San Miguel volunteers and agency volunteers give the gifts out to people. In the past, some people have taken tags and have not brought anything back. If the requests are specific, Moore said she will try and go out and buy what the person needs.

The Giving Tree also gets money donations to buy gifts.

“Mostly all the time it has been wonderful and there have been no problems,” Moore said. “We thank the community for being generous year after year.”