Celebrating 50 Years of Holiday Magic

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The holiday season is always a magical time here at Tanager Place and we have some amazing community partnerships that help facilitate our ability to share that magic with many of our kiddos and families.  For 50 years, employees from Rockwell Collins help ensure that the 68 children who live at Tanager Place get the chance to enjoy a sense of wonder and excitement over the holiday season.

Last Thursday night, Rockwell Collins staff (current and retired) and friends joined the Community Relations team and Okpara Rice for dinner before the excitement began.  This allowed the chance for Tanager Place staff to express their gratitude for everything that the Rockwell Collins group does to organize this very special holiday celebration for the children.

“This volunteer team is amazing,” says Joan Hackbarth, director of community relations. “They raise money and shop for the kids all year long in anticipation of this wonderful evening. It’s a truly inspiring and humbling tradition, and we appreciate Rockwell Collins employees’ support.”

“You can tell it means so much to the kids to get a gift they specifically asked for,” says Lorrie Bell, who has been helping with the tradition for more than 10 years and coordinates the shopping on behalf of Terry Cottage and Cook Cottage. “You can feel the joy of the children…that’s what keeps me coming back.”

Rockwell Collins employees help coordinate gift-giving efforts for Tanager Place’s six inpatient treatment cottages. The children’s wish lists, along with practical necessities like school supplies and new hats and gloves, are all part of the gift giving.

“It’s rewarding to give back to the community,” says Diane Ferguson, who helped the gift-giving efforts on behalf of Tomlinson Cottage and Dutton Cottage. “Every child deserves happiness at Christmas, and a sense of wonder.”

Each cottage is treated to a visit from Santa Clause, and the chance to open their special gifts.

“The people keep it going,” says Karen Inge, who has played an instrumental role in the program for 50 years. “All of us want to keep it going for the kids.”

Photo via Heather Gierut – Community Relations Specialist

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