Local girl buys Christmas gifts at Angel Tree for less fortunate children | Community donations

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WATERTOWN — Every year since the age of 4, Elaina M. Hudson has collected and saved money to grant wishes for the Angel Tree and provide Christmas gifts to less fortunate children.

Elaina, who will turn 8 on Monday, was able to buy a present for a child first, then a girl and a boy for the following years. This year, with her family helping out by saving change after cash purchases, including her grandparents in New York and Oklahoma, Elaina raised more than $500 and bought a total of 23 gifts for six children, fulfilling the wishes they had placed on the tree. She also included candy canes filled with M&Ms as surprises for everyone.

“I got a kitchen set and a coloring set for the same girl, and another girl wanted a LOL doll,” Elaina said of some of the gifts she bought. “Somebody wanted Pokémon and somebody wanted a truck, and there were baby accessories.”

She also bought toys related to popular kids’ shows like “Paw Patrol,” a science kit, Play-Doh, a Baby Alive doll and more.

Elaina saw an Angel Tree when she was 4 and asked her family what it was. They explained to her that some children might not receive anything for Christmas without outside help, so she decided to participate in the holiday aid.

Each year, the Jefferson County Community Action Planning Board hosts the Holiday Angel Tree program. Area families fill out applications that list their child’s Christmas wishes, and community members can choose to make those wishes come true. There are usually several Angel Trees in Jefferson County, including Sam’s Club, Walmart, and The Salvation Army.

“I thought it was important (to get involved) because some kids don’t get anything for Christmas,” Elaina said, adding that it felt good to be able to help others.

His father, Matthew P. Summers, works at Sam’s Club, where all the gifts were given out for the tree. He said they filled up his SUV and Elaina was the biggest donor of them all to Sam.

Eager to do even more good, Elaina hopes to be able to give gifts to 10 children next year. Elaina also wants to attend Z93’s Santa for Seniors next year to help bring holiday cheer to seniors. She wanted to do it this year, but all the spots in the program were taken by the time her family returned from their Thanksgiving trip.

Her parents, Matthew and Danielle Summers, couldn’t be more proud of her and the example she sets for her younger sister Kinley, 1.

Around the same time Elaina discovered the Angel Tree, the family decided that before Christmas they would go to her bedroom and donate at least two bags of toys to Urban Mission, a tradition that will continue with Kinley when she will grow old.

Ms Summers said her ever empathetic daughter constantly inspires her and has more empathy in her little finger than some have.

“We talked about world hunger, we talked about other kids not being so lucky, that sometimes school is where a kid eats for the day,” he said. she said of her daughter. “We’ve branched out into so many areas to be grateful for and she actually saw her first homeless person not too long ago, and now she wants to stop anyone else from being homeless as well.”

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