The Giving Angels
By Janice Dahl and Jawn McKinley
No matter how old we get, there's a special memory of "I wonder what I'll get" that never seems to go away at the holidays. When we were kids, it was... "how many presents will I get?" As we grew older, it became more of a " oh my, look who remembered me with a gift!" In the Verde Valley, there are so many homebound seniors who know that at the holidays, there will be nothing to open, because there's no one to remember them. Until an amazing organization called The Giving Angels was founded in 2004 . It started with just over a dozen gifts organized by Brenda Cosse, when her heart answered a need she felt in our community. By 2015, this has grown to a full fledged Non Profit, that delivered over 700 gift bags to seniors throughout the Verde Valley.
From the beginning, each and every bag contained a hand written card with blessings and gratitude for a life well lived, along with small gifts. The bags are filled with items the seniors themselves said would be welcome; like towel sets, unscented lotions, notecards and stamps, tea towels, and lap robes. As Christmas draws near, more than 100 volunteers gather to sort, wrap, bag and deliver each gift... and they adore the opportunity to "play Santa Claus". All this is done in about two weeks, but all year long, the organization works to raise funds to accomplish their mission.
Our generous Verde Valley communities donate both in-kind and financially to enable the Angels to continue to expand their outreach to meet the needs of the growing number of underprivileged seniors in our area. Foundations and businesses have also been wonderfully supportive, and are a huge reason so many can be served.
It's really miraculous when you think about it. As a small non-profit, with no staff or overhead costs, the Giving Angels are able to do so much. Because it's all run by volunteers, it also depends on other groups to share their angel wings. Meals on Wheels helps to identify seniors in need ; The Sedona Women and the Sedona Business Network help to gather volunteers; groups like the Arizona Community Foundation and the Azadi Angels help make the magic possible. Local businesses, too many to mention, contribute as well.
So by Christmas, all the items are purchased or donated, bags packed and hand delivered. And the thank you notes that are sent back are a gift to everyone who was involved with the project. Because they say how very much a small bag of gifts, delivered with a hug and a smile can mean. The bags contain some necessities of life but are delivered with the most basic necessity of all - kindness, and the knowledge that one is remembered, valued and yes, loved. The Giving Angels, how lucky we are to have them in our community. And you can join them, and get your very own wings!!!!
The Giving Angels is a 501(c) (3) and an Arizona Charitable Organization.