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Chapel fills hearts during holiday season

The 50th Space Wing Chaplain office staff members fill holiday care packages for deployed Team Schriever members Dec. 5, 2014, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo. The boxes contained food items, holiday ornaments, and much more, all donated by various base members.  (U.S. Air Force Photo/Senior Airman Naomi Griego)

The 50th Space Wing Chaplain office staff members fill holiday care packages for deployed Team Schriever members Dec. 5, 2014, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo. The boxes contained food items, holiday ornaments, and much more, all donated by various base members. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Senior Airman Naomi Griego)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The 50th Space Wing Chaplain's office kicked off the holiday season by giving back to others through the Angel Tree program and by sending more than 50 care packages to deployed members.

Staff Sgt. Marcela Parker, NCO in charge of Chapel Administration, helped coordinate the effort.

"The chapel reached out to first sergeants and the Ellicott School District to identify families in need," she said. "This is a great way to give back to a community that gives [us] so much."

Personally touched by the program, Parker can't stress enough what a difference the Angel Tree can make.

"My family was one of those angels on a tree," said Parker. "And now, I run the program. Talk about a humbling experience."

At the time, Parker was going through a rough patch. The program helped her and her family get through the holidays.

"It was such a great feeling knowing that people cared about us," Parker said. "I was so thankful for those gifts my son received. And so was he."

Which she could tell by the ear-to-ear grin her son had that Christmas.
The Angel Tree program relies on individuals and family members to select an angel from a tree.  The chapel provides information, such as sizes, toy preference and a brief description of the children, to a good Samaritan. It's all anonymous so no one ever knows who was on the other end. 

"The program is made possible by people willing to open their hearts," said Parker.

She praised Team Schriever for not lacking in the caring department.

"We actually ran out of angels on our trees," she said. "And I still have people calling who want to adopt a family."

As another means to give back, the chapel wants to remind Team Schriever members their sacrifices are not overlooked.

Parker and Chaplain (1st Lt.) Jennifer Ray, wing Chaplain, filled more than 50 deployed member care packages with food, candy, cards, holiday ornaments and more, all of which were donated by Team Schriever members. 

"I hope that despite the distance, our members feel cared for," said Ray. "Sometimes, people may think out of sight out of mind, but that is not the case. Hopefully, this small gesture brings a smile to their faces."
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