WOW and Some PTA Elves Round Out Angel Tree Donations

Westchase’s local schools look after their neediest families. Before the holidays each year, the front offices of Alonso, Davidsen and Westchase Elementary hold Angel Trees, which bear the holiday wishes of a child whose family can’t afford to buy them gifts. The families and lists are privately compiled by the school’s guidance counselors. Families from each of the schools pick a child’s wish list and deliver the gifts to the school before Winter Break.

That’s when WOW’s Leslie Blaze steps in every year. Armed with a check approved by the WOW Board, Blaze, WOW’s Business Manager, aims to complete the Angel Tree families’ holiday celebrations with a wonderful dinner. “I round up a few of my friends from the schools, we hit the stores to track down the best deals, and we purchase and compile all the ingredients for a happy holiday meal for all the Angel Tree families,” Blaze said.

This year on Monday, Dec. 13, Blaze was assisted by Tara Caraballo, a parent from Westchase Elementary, and Ann Lora, a Davidsen parent. Both are PTA volunteers who handle their schools’ Angel Trees.

The trio purchased and put together meals for 50 families: 21 from Davidsen, 14 from Westchase Elementary and 15 from Alonso. The total, due to some frugal shopping and great deals offered by our local Publix, came to $1,900.

“We’ve actually been doing this for years,” observed WOW Publisher Chris Barrett. “While not widely known, it’s one of our holiday traditions that our board never hesitates to approve.”

“I’m tremendously grateful to Leslie and her holiday elves,” Barrett added. “Every year when I’m up to my eyeballs in December’s magazine production because of a tight holiday print deadline, they set everything else aside so that scores of kids from our local schools have a happy holiday.”

He concluded, “I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank our advertisers. It’s because of their support of WOW – and our readers’ reliance on our advertisers – that we are able to touch lives like this each holiday.”

“On Christmas morning as my family is enjoying the holiday, knowing there are 50 other families with children who are also smiling because of this tradition makes it all worth it,” said Blaze.

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