Since 1985, the Woman’s League of Mount Holly has set up a 12-foot tall tree at the Burlington County Library. The tree is decorated with handmade ornaments. Each ornament has a tag with a child-in-need’s wish. Patrons are encouraged to take a tagged ornament then drop off their donation at the library. The goal is for every child to have a bright holiday.
A League member acts as a liaison between various organizations to find out the children’s wishes. The donations are then delivered to the organizations. Currently, the League is working with:
- NJ Department of Children and Families
- Pinelands Family Success Center
- Generations Family Success Center
- Oaks Integrated Care
- Center for Family Services: Lumberton Headstart Center
- Operation Chillout
Through the years, the tree has served many children and families. In recent history, a young woman walked into the library just before the holidays. Her one arm was loaded with gifts while the other dragged a large bag filled with infant basics. With tears in her eyes, she explained that two years ago, she and her children fell on hard times and received gifts left at the tree. She promised herself that if her life ever turned around, she would never forget the tree and other families in need. Thankfully, her life did turn around, and she was in a position to give back.
This year, the Wish Tree has 316 tagged ornaments. The pandemic has changed the traditional collection of donated presents. Organizations are requesting gift cards or monetary donations instead of gifts. This is so everyone can stay healthy and safe.
The Woman’s League will be collecting donations through December 12. Their hope is the public can help make the children’s holidays bright.
After the holiday season, the Wish Tree will be converted into a Warming Tree. The League will be collecting mittens, gloves, scarves and hats for children and adults through mid-January. The clothing will be donated to local homeless, domestic violence and veterans’ shelters.