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Wednesday, 30 November 2016 21:42

Body Shop, ‘Happy Tree’ Program Bring Christmas to Foster Kids

Written by MATT CHAPMAN, Lincoln Times-News

Two Lincoln County, NC residents are partnering with area businesses in an effort to bring Christmas to local foster children.

Tracy Silver, a Lincolnton attorney, and Roger Calhoun, owner of Auto Body Solutions, are working together to coordinate a program similar to the Salvation Army’s “Angel Tree” initiative. Each participating business will have a “Happy Tree” and a list of gift ideas for members of the community.


“Roger Calhoun and I have gotten together and decided to try and help the Department of Social Services foster children,” Silver said. “I work with and represent the parents of these children who are taken into foster care custody. A lot of these children end up in kinship placements, and kinship placements don’t get state funds to assist in any way, and particularly with Christmas coming up, they don’t get any assistance. There’s a need to try and help these foster children who otherwise wouldn’t get anything for Christmas.”


Kinship placement refers to children who are cared for by relatives or, in some jurisdictions, close family friends. These caregivers often already have children of their own and are taking on the added financial responsibility of another child in need of food, clothing and, in just a matter of weeks, Christmas gifts.


Calhoun has coordinated similar programs in the past, operating a Bicycle Tree initiative in Lincoln County for the better part of two decades. He was inspired to give back during the holidays after hearing the song “Paper Angels” written and performed by his friend Jimmy Wayne, a country musician.


“Tracy brought to my awareness just how many kids in Lincoln County are in foster care this year,” Calhoun said. “I’ve always done bicycle trees with the help of local businesses over the years for underprivileged children just because a lot of times it’s the only Christmas that these kids get. A lot of these kids in foster care don’t even know the meaning of giving or receiving because of their current situations. We just hope that we can help put a smile on the faces of these children when they receive their gifts on Christmas morning.”


Those who wish to receive a gift for these children can stop by either of Silver’s law offices in Denver and Lincolnton or Auto Body Solutions to fill out an application. The current deadline to fill out an application is Dec. 15, but that date may be extended at the discretion of Silver and Calhoun. Any present that is purchased needs to be returned to the businesses by Dec. 20 so that the caregivers can stop by and pick them up before Christmas.


“I’ve supported the Angel Tree program for many years, and obviously Roger has been involved in these types of initiatives for a long time,” Silver said. “I’ve spoken with a few folks over at DSS who are very grateful that we’ve been able to put this program together for the children. They seem to be very open to the idea and hopeful that the children will be able to get what they desire this year through the program.”


Happy Tree locations:

The Law Offices of Tracy Silver
101 West Court Square in Lincolnton — (704) 735-7491

3694 Highway 16 Business North in Denver

Auto Body Solutions
1027 Horseshoe Lake Road in Lincolnton — (704) 748-1866

Griffin Brothers
702 East Main Street in Lincolnton


We would like to thank Lincoln Times-News for reprint permission.

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