Holiday angels help with gifts in Black Diamond

By Dennis Box

For The Courier-Herald

It’s that time of year when the holiday classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” plays on televisions everywhere. Anyone who has seen the movie, knows every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings.

Listen carefully, and tiny bells are ringing at the Black Diamond Community Center as angels gather to prepare special gifts.

Judith Black, executive director of the center, along with helpers Laura Borg and Dave and Margaret Garrison were busy Dec. 21 going through a roomful of presents donated by people from the area.

Black said the center provides presents to children who are in financial need. The parents fill out an application and provide documentation.

Black said tags are placed around the town with a suggested present written on it. People pick up tags, buy the presents and deliver them to the center.

“Generally we make our targets,” Black said. “The last two years have been difficult. Some people who donated are here to sign up for presents.”

Dave Garrison said he and Margaret work from three to five days matching the gifts with the children’s requests.

According to Black, the Garrisons were brought into the program by their daughter Annie West, who started working with the gifts in 1997.

“Annie kind of hooked the whole family,” Black said.

Margaret Garrison said, “My daughter (Annie) donates thousands of books. We make sure every child gets a book. The books are so important.”

She said her husband also helps every child who asks for a bike get one, even if he has to buy it himself.

“Some kids just ask for a warm blanket,” Margaret Garrsion said. “It really breaks your heart sometimes.”

Black said despite the difficult economic times, people always come through to help.

“There is a Christmas angel,” Black said. “That little bell rings.”

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