Four years ago the Junior class officers Ren Mattson, Mardi Johnson, and Tanner Havens decided that they were going to give back to the youth in need. They started an angel tree, what the angel tree does is provide kids in need with Christmas presents. Anyone can just go down pick a tag off and buy what is listed on the tree.
Mrs. Alexis Mattson has her hands full with her classes but she still finds the time to give back and explain what that means for her.
“It makes you feel good I have what I need, my kids have what they need and what they want and sometimes it just makes you feel good to give back,” said Mattson.
This year Mrs. Mattson partnered with FCAA, they are a non-profit agency that provides for kids all year long. This year FCAA will be providing all the toys, while the tree provides shoes and clothes that are in need.
“FCAA they are the agency that helps the community that’s non-profit that helps families in need throughout the year,” explained Mattson.
The process to get the toys and clothes/shoes to the children in need is time-consuming. A lot goes into making sure everything's anonymous, all the kids get what they need.
“So for families in need usually what I’ve done is send out emails to other teachers at the school and the teachers throughout the entire district, then they submit names of students that they know are in need,” explained Mattson. “Those students are then brought in to the counselor's office and there’s information so the counselor gets information about them and their families. Those forms are submitted to me and I anonymously make sure I make sure that they stay anonymous and then I just give each kid a member or each person from the family a number and that number is put onto the tree with the wish list.”
Everyone in town is getting in on the spirit of giving, normally in the past, Mattson would deliver the gifts to the different schools but this year Winnemucca's local mining company has sponsored an early Christmas dinner.
“In the past, we took the gifts to the schools, but this year Newmont donated a dinner. That’s where the families will receive gifts and have a warm meal on December 14. If they don’t make it we take them to the schools” said Mattson.
The Angel Tree is a great way to give back without getting anything in return.