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The Clayton State family provides gifts for forgotten angels

Clayton State University students, staff-and-faculty members, dug deep into their pockets, recently, to buy additional toys and clothing for children in the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program.

CSU Director of University Relations John Shiffert said students, who make up the University’s College of Information Technology and Mathematical Sciences (CIMS) and the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), raised funds to sponsor 15 children and provide gifts for more than 50 other children, who did not have sponsors in this year’s program, which is designed to make the holiday season brighter for children, who, otherwise, might not have a lot to cheer about this Christmas.

“After 12 years of participating with the Angel Tree program, I am amazed at the generosity of my colleagues and students,” said Mary Hudachek-Buswell, lecturer in Computer Science and Mathematics at the university. “So, even during this recession, Clayton State gave to those in more need than we are.”

The Angel Tree program has been available for more than 115 years, and has provided Christmas assistance for disadvantaged children and senior citizens, according to the Salvation Army’s web site.

Through the program, donors can become personally involved, because they are able to choose a specific child to help, the web site pointed out.

Lt. Brian Mott, core officer for the Salvation Army in Jonesboro, said 853 children in Clayton and Fayette counties were sponsored this year. He said that equals about 350 families.

The children, who are not sponsored, are known as “forgotten angels,” said Mott. “About 20 to 30 percent of children, who come through our program, get adopted and don’t return back,” he said, “So, sponsors will come in and help supplement, and buy gifts for the [un-sponsored] children.”

Mott said it was a little more difficult finding individual sponsors, this year, but the community came through. “Some of our corporate sponsors this year were the Lake Spivey Civic Association and JCPenny,” he added.

More than 50 volunteers came out Monday, he said, to help distribute the gifts at First Baptist Church in Jonesboro.

Mary Hudachek-Buswell said more than 20 students at CSU volunteered and sorted through scores of boxes filled with toys, shoes, and clothing.

The goal for next year, Mott said, is to begin spreading the word about the Angel Tree program as early as July.

“We would like to serve more than 1,000 children next year.”