Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Christmas clock ticking on angel tree adoptions at Ottawa clothing store

By ABBY ECKEL, Herald Staff Writer | 12/18/2013

New clothes might not be at the top of every child’s Christmas list, but for many they’re needed items this holiday season, Tammy Rhoades said.

As of Wednesday morning, 11 children and counting still needed adopted for Christmas clothes on the Angel Tree at Rhoades’ store, Raggedy Ann and Andy’s Closet, 424B S. Main St., Ottawa, she said.

“We had two more families sign up [early this week] for their children to be put on the tree,” Rhoades, owner of the store, said. “[It’s for] people who have hit a crisis point, have lost their jobs or need money for Christmas.”

Raggedy Ann and Andy’s Closet buys and sells gently used and new clothing, Rhoades said, and every child represented on the store’s tree is just asking for clothes.

“There’s no place in this town to get outfits,” she said. “You can get food at Hope House and eye glasses from the Lions Club, underwear and socks from another club in town, but there’s no place to get a new outfit in town unless you have your name on a tree.”

All gifts for those children adopted from the angel tree were supposed to be donated by Sunday, Rhoades said, but that was before the need grew so great.

With Christmas now less than a week away, Rhoades said, she’s not sure how she’s going to get clothes and shoes to the children left on the tree in need of adoption.

“How do you say no?” she said. “You just can’t tell someone ‘no’ when they need clothes. If I can’t fulfill the cards on my tree, then I’ll pull whatever I can off my racks and give it to them.”

With six children of her own, 17 foster children, grandchildren and foster grandchildren she’s raising, Rhoades said, there’s nowhere else to pull money from to buy clothes for the remaining kids on the tree.

“Christmas is coming and I’m desperate to get these kids clothes, and that upsets me,” Rhoades said. “I’ve pulled and pulled out of my account, and I can’t pull anything else.”

One of Santa’s helpers has been volunteering his time on Saturdays, allowing families to come to the store and have kids’ pictures taken with Santa for a $5 donation, she said. Pictures with Santa have raised about $225 to put toward buying the children clothes, but it’s still not enough, she said.

“Remember being a kid and you didn’t get something and everybody else got that something at school and you didn’t get it?” Rhoades said. “When these kids go back to school they won’t be sporting their new Christmas clothes like the other kids will be.”

Unlike new toys, new clothes can help provide a child with some self-confidence, Rhoades said, which in turn makes them feel better about themselves.

“I think it’s important for [kids] to have good self-esteem, and it’s important they look nice and feel good about it,” she said. “When they feel good and look good, they want to be eager to study and learn because they feel proud of themselves.”

Cash donations and clothing donations are accepted to help provide for those still left on the angel tree, Rhoades said, but she’s still worried some children will be going without this Christmas.

“I’ve got families of four children, families of three and some [of the children in the families] have been adopted and some have not,” she said. “There are twins [on the angel tree] that have two more brothers that have not been adopted [and the twins have]. How am I gonna call the mom and say ‘I have presents for two kids but I don’t have anything for the other two?’”

Those wishing to adopt from the angel tree or donate can stop by Raggedy Ann and Andy’s Closet or call Rhoades with questions at (913) 636-7409.

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