God’s little angels

Published 12:43 pm Thursday, December 7, 2017

AHOSKIE – It looks like a typical Christmas tree, except the only ornaments adorning its branches are paper angels. Each angel represents a child in foster care in Hertford County, and contains simply an age and a Christmas wish list—no names included. People walking into the lobby of Wells Fargo Bank in Ahoskie can pick an Angel from the tree and then bring back a present in return.

Penny Hall, a service manager at the bank, started the Angel Tree last year when she learned there were almost 200 children in foster care throughout the county.

“I said, Lord, what can I do? How can I help them,” Hall said, explaining how she was moved to do something for those children.

These two photos show the Angel Tree at Wells Fargo Bank, located on Main Street in Ahoskie. The public is invited to drop in and select a paper angel from the tree, and follow the instructions as to how to purchase a gift for a foster child in Hertford County. | Staff Photos by Holly Taylor

Hall said her original idea was to host a Christmas party for all the foster kids, but had to look for another option once she learned that the county’s Department of Social Services couldn’t release their names. After brainstorming with her Wells Fargo coworkers different ways to still make Christmas special, they eventually decided to put together the Angel Tree.

“These are angels,” Hall said. “These are God’s little angels.”

Hertford County DSS sent them a list of what the children wanted for the holiday. Their ages were included as well to ensure age-appropriate gifts since those in foster care range from teenagers to as young as a few months old.

Hall said many people participated last year, and she hopes people continue to be generous this year as well. She added she’s also grateful Wells Fargo allowed them to put up the tree inside the bank, located at 300 W. Main Street in Ahoskie.

People interested in participating can pick an Angel off the tree, and then bring back an unwrapped present by December 15. It’s okay, however, to put the gift in a box or bag. Hall only asks that the angel ornament be stapled or otherwise attached with the gift.

There’s no limit on how many Angels someone can help. She said one person stopped by recently and picked four Angels from the tree.

“I’m not rich as far as money, but I’m rich in love and rich in soul. So that’s all I have to give,” Hall explained. “And if that’s what God wants me to do, that’s what I’m going to do.”

“This is our future,” she continued, referring to the children and the importance of helping them.

She said she hopes to put together other benefits for foster children, beyond just Christmas and the Angel Tree, in order to show those kids there are people in the community who care about them. But Hall doesn’t want to take any credit for the work, instead choosing to focus on the children throughout the county whose Christmases will be a little brighter this year.

“It’s not about me. It’s not about Wells Fargo,” Hall emphasized. “It’s all about these kids and that they have a good Christmas.”