WASHINGTON– Hundreds of Howard University students gathered recently at Cramton Auditorium to wrap gifts for underprivileged children in DC during the Angel Tree Project Wrapping Party.

The Angel Tree is a service initiative that provides Christmas presents to elementary school students. The project provides gifts to approximately 230 students and are presented to the schools during individual receptions. The University’s Chapel Assistants have spearheaded this service project annually for the past 13 years.

The Chapel Assistants consist of a diverse body of students who share a common goal of strengthening their spiritual relationships with Christ. The organization is most known for their assistance in weekly Chapel services held on campus and service to the community.

Jaimee Johnson, a sophomore political science major and active chapel assistant, was the coordinator for this year’s Angel Tree Project.

“The purpose is to make sure that every DC child has something to open on Christmas,” said Johnson. “Most of us at Howard are very privileged, we can’t even imagine the type of situations they have to go through. It’s a chance for us to be able to give them something”

As coordinator, Johnson is responsible for reaching out to the participating schools and collecting donations for gifts from HU organizations.  The students who receive the gifts, also called Angels, are then sponsored by the participating University organizations. From there, the organizations provide their services in wrapping the many donated gifts during the Wrapping Party that occurred Friday afternoon.

“It was a lot of hard work. We have been planning since the summer,” said Johnson, “but it’s worth it”

Organizations participating in the Wrapping Party included the College of Arts and Sciences student council, School of Communications student council, Ubiquity, Cascade, and students who simply wanted to lend a helping hand.

“I love giving my time to help kids,” said Monique Johnson, a junior psychology major and Wrapping Party participant. “It was nice to see people come out and help. It’s always a good feeling to help out.”

The schools whose students will receive gifts are Cleveland Elementary, Garrison Elementary, HD Cooke Elementary, and Tubman Elementary. America’s Promise, a mentoring organization whose priority is to end the high school drop out crisis, also has Angels who are being helped because of the Project.

Angels are chosen by the faculty of the receiving schools and organizations. An Angel’s academic performance and financial need are considered when making these decisions.

Miss College of Engineering, Architecture & Computer Science of Howard University Dolce Lawless also reflected on her experience.

“I love helping kids. A lot of people in this area are underprivileged and don’t have a lot of opportunities,” said Lawless. “If we can help them with a simple Christmas present, that’s great.”


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