I-Drive and District Partners: Helping Children with Salvation Army Angel Tree Program

It doesn’t get any better than providing clothing and toys to more than 900 Orange County children for the 2019 holidays. That’s what the season is all about as far as the International Drive Business Improvement District is concerned.

Just ask Luann Brooks, executive director of the District. For its 18th year, she and her District staff have been helping families in need through its Angel Tree Program. The project is achieved in partnership with the Salvation Army along with WKMG Local 6.

“The District staff worked in partnership with 100+ I-Drive and hospitality industry businesses last year to provide a helping hand to families in need through our Angel Tree program. It’s one of the staff’s favorite projects and we could not do it without the enthusiastic support and commitment from our industry,” she says. “And it was not just about providing much needed clothing to the many families needing a helping hand. More than 75 percent of the participants also went a step further and generously fulfilled the child's "wish" and provided bikes, toys and electronic games. It’s what the season is all about and it is a wonderful way for anyone to help a family in need."

Since 1865, the Salvation Army has supported those in need with this nationally recognized program that provides new clothing or toys for underprivileged children. The structure of the program makes it easy and convenient for everyone to help a child during the holidays. 

Participating accommodations, attractions, restaurants and other businesses in the I-Drive area placed a Christmas tree in a high-employee traffic area. The tree was decorated with numbered paper angel tags with the first name, age and gender of a child to receive a gift of new clothing. Contributors removed one or more tags from the tree and purchased the appropriate clothing for the child or children described on the tags. The sponsoring organization also served as a secure collection point for the gifts.

The District began participating in this program in 2002 and each year it continues to grow and to provide new clothing for children within the Orange County community. The objective is to provide gifts of only new clothing for as many children as possible whose families registered for holiday assistance or children from child care centers and foster homes.