Richmond, Va. –
Employees on Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia, donned their wings again this year to provide gifts for local families through the Angel Tree program.
Though the event was virtual for the second year in a row, the enthusiasm was palpable, and employees stepped up to create a merry holiday for 123 Chesterfield County families associated with Bellwood, Bensley and Reid elementary schools as well as Meadowbrook High School.
Due to telework and COVID-19 restrictions, the program was kept virtual to lessen exposure and maximize convenience. The Defense Logistics Agency Aviation’s Public Affairs Office, and Safety Office, DLA Installation Management Richmond Fire Department, and DLA Installation Operations Richmond all worked together for a seamless gift drop-off by employees and gift pick-up by the participating schools. Mark Dovey, information technology specialist with DLA Information Operations, helped create the landing page for adoptees where they could reprint their wish lists, learn how to wrap and tag their gifts, and see drop-off information on gift turn-in day.
Natalie Skelton, DLA Aviation’s public affairs specialist, coordinated the event. “For the past two years we’ve sent out systems broadcasts asking for adoption commitments. We then coordinated directly with the schools, telling them how many families we are able to adopt,” she said.
Skelton said adoptees submitted preferences for their families, such as children’s ages, and were matched as closely as possible. The process was a change from previous years, when families were selected by volunteers on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Harvey Brooks, a lead contract specialist with Supplier Operations Commodities Directorate participated in Angel Tree for the first time this year, and said he enjoyed the experience because it gave him the opportunity to help others.
Mae Lew, a product specialist with Supplier Operations Commodities Directorate-Bearings Division, has participated in Angel Tree for the past five years. Lew said she liked receiving a preselected family rather than picking from a list.
“It’s an honor being able to pay it forward through events like this one,” Lew said. “This year was a better experience than last year because I did not have to be the first in line or internet savvy to receive a family.”
Akida Maxwell, a business process analyst with the Business Process Support Directorate, Order Management Branch, and his wife Onethia Maxwell, internal review evaluator and internal/external audit liaison with the Command Support Directorate, Internal Review Office, are also longtime volunteers for the program.
“Our experience was great,” Onethia Maxwell said. “We have three grown kids, so shopping for little kids is always a treat for us. We adopted three angels this year because our daughter, Kennedy, wanted an angel of her own.
“We were not surprised at her request because all of our children have giving hearts,” Maxwell added. “We planted the seeds of giving and service in our children at a young age. Their first exposure was stuffing a shoe box with clothes and a toy, which their daycare mailed to a child in an undeveloped nation.”
Maxwell said the public affairs staff always does a wonderful job with communication and running the program, and any questions she had were answered quickly.
“We love this program.” Maxwell said. “It’s a wonderful feeling, making sure children have gifts and items that will sustain them throughout the year.”
Angel Tree volunteers dropped off their donations at the DSCR fire station on Dec. 10.
“I am always proud to be able to participate. Morgan always enjoys helping others all through the year, and particularly being able to help other children have a happy holiday season.”
- Christl Kroeten, Strategic Acquisition Programs Directorate and husband Robert Carey, Supplier Operations Original Equipment Manufacturer Directorate
“This is my first time participating in the DLA Aviation Angel Tree program, but I participate every year with all the local holiday programs. It’s always self-rewarding when you can help make a kid’s holiday a joyful one.”
- Dedra Carter, DLA Installation Management Richmond
“Again, another year, the Defense Supply Center [Richmond] has outdone themselves! Natalie and her crew are an absolute pleasure to work with and make this big project as easy as possible. I can rest assured that 31 of our Bellwood Bulldogs will have the brightest Christmas ever. Huge thanks to everyone that supported the angel program! Hope you all have a happy holiday and a wonderful new year!
- Elizabeth Stowers, site coordinator, Communities in Schools at Bellwood Elementary School