News | Dec. 3, 2020

White Christmas: DSCR Angel Tree gets virtual makeover in time for the holidays

By Natalie Skelton, DLA Aviation Public Affairs

Daniel White saved Christmas for 128 students from Bellwood, Bensley and Reid Elementary Schools and Meadowbrook High School.

When faced with the very real threat of not being able to continue the Angel Tree program by providing for students in need this holiday season, Amy Clement, chief of the Public Affairs Office, Command Support Directorate, Defense Logistics Agency Aviation, needed an idea that would circumvent the pandemic safely and efficiently.

“Due to COVID-19, initially we weren’t authorized to participate in the Annual Angel Tree program this year,” Clement said.  “Thanks to the efforts from our office (DLA Aviation PAO), as well as the Safety Office, DLA Installation Management Richmond Fire Department, and DLA Installation Operations Richmond, we worked to make this happen.”

Clement said the concern was for the safety of all Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia personnel, as well as the safety of the children who would be provided gifts and school officials who participate in the annual program. 

“PAO did virtual meetings with the safety office and Fire and Emergency Services personnel and conducted a safety risk assessment,” she said. “Through teaming, we found a way for employees to be able to stay in their cars when they drop their gifts off through a curbside contactless drop off,” Clement said.

“However, we still needed a way to adopt the angels,” Clement added.  “Public Affairs team members usually sit in the cafeteria during lunch and have angel tree cards on hand for employees to drop by and select angels. There was no way we could do that with COVID-19.”

An idea was just an idea without the means to deliver results, until White breathed life into it.

White, an information technology specialist with DLA Information Operations, was asked to take on the task of virtually creating Angel Tree.

“I definitely thought it would be an interesting project and something that may help people smile a bit this year,” said White.

When asked what some of the challenges were, he said most of them were related to time constraints and balancing workload.

“Allotting the time and working through requirements can also take some time to finalize prior to going into a build phase.” White said. “There is usually more than one way to do something inside an application and the ways we are accustomed to, may not always be the best way. Feedback from real users don’t lie: this information holds the most value.”

White isn’t the only shining star this year. DLA employees on DSCR who responded in great magnitude, each with a giving heart and Christmas spirit, helped make this season bright. Without their initial commitments to adopt, there wouldn’t have even been an Angel Tree program this year.

“This endeavor is so much larger than my small contribution,” said White. “The folks that have planned and coordinated this event along with the angel adopters are the true superstars! I’m just doing my job, however, this one does make me smile on the inside!”

A vast difference from last year, employees were first asked for commitments prior to reaching out to the schools. A response was needed to verify how many angels could be adopted. Employees did not disappoint, and their response yielded four more angels than last year. White was instrumental in uploading each angel to an employee internal website, as well as providing links where adopters could verify which angels were already adopted and how many angels were left.

Now that 128 angels have been adopted, employees are busy buying, wrapping and tagging gifts in their spare time, and the Public Affairs Office and Fire Department are teaming to collect gifts during gift turn in day which takes place Dec. 9.


Fun Christmas trivia questions and answers

Question: Elvis isn’t going to have a white Christmas he’s going to have a….
Answer: Blue Christmas

Question: What words follow “Silent Night” in the song?
Answer: Holy night

Question: Which country did eggnog come from?
Answer: England

Question: Which Christmas song contains the lyric “Everyone dancing merrily in the new old-fashioned way?”
Answer: “Rocking Around The Christmas Tree”

Question: Which country started the tradition of putting up a Christmas tree?
Answer: Germany

Question: What gift did the Little Drummer Boy give to the newborn Christ?
Answer: He played a song for him on his drums

Question: What is the best-selling Christmas song ever?
Answer: “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby

Question: What is the name of George Bailey’s guardian angel in It’s A Wonderful Life?
Answer: Clarence Odbody

Question: What popular Christmas song was actually written for Thanksgiving?
Answer: “Jingle Bells”

Question: What was the first company that used Santa Claus in advertising?
Answer: Coca-Cola