SAHS Angel Tree drive supports local charities


Piper Keane and Paige Sigmund

Keeping the annual tradition running, Shaler Area High School introduced the 2022 Angel Tree. For those who don’t know, the Angel Tree is a way for students and staff to donate gifts to families in need for the holidays. Each angel has a gender and age range written on it and donors look to find a gift for a child of that description.

All gifts are donated to either the North Hills Community Outreach’s “Holiday Toy Shop” or an outreach of Sharpsburg Family Worship Center. This year Shaler Area HS was able to provide gifts for 205 angels.

“We were able to help out an additional organization, The Western Police Athletic League, in conjunction with the Shaler Township police due to the generosity of the students and staff of SAHS,” Activities Director Mrs. Mindy Thiel said.

Over the past couple of years, these donations have become even more important as rising prices have made it even harder on some local families.

“I’m not sure about North Hills Community Outreach, but the Network of Hope has seen a large increase in the number of families who have registered for their Gift-a-Gift program,” Activities Director Mrs. Mindy Thiel said.

Jamie Horne of the Sharpsburg Family Worship Center said that the program receives about 50-100 gifts per year from Shaler Area, depending on the year. However, in the program’s “Christmas Store,” there are a total of 2,000 gifts available for families this year.

“My favorite part of the event is talking to families who are so grateful that they can give their children a better Christmas,” Horne said,

This year, a woman dropped off six boxes of gifts to the program. She had previously been one of the families that shopped here when her family was having difficult times. She was so determined that she spent all year collecting gifts in order to donate. Horne said that she loves that story and how it truly represents what the holidays are all about. 

From free raffles to refreshments to gift cards, the program’s “Christmas Store” provides a variety of gifts for parents to come and shop for their children. The Sharpsburg Family Worship Center is one of the only programs that provides gifts for children up to 18 years of age and allows parents to choose their own. 

“We are so thankful to the Shaler Area School District for helping to provide gifts for children in need,” Horne said.