HH Giving tree

Dozens of tags fill a past Senior Giving Tree at Safeway in Hermiston. The community is urged to pick a tag and purchase Christmas gifts for residents of Sun Terrace Assisted Living in Hermiston.

Area children, senior citizens and even animals will benefit from the generosity of people in the community.

A number of giving trees are sprouting up at locations throughout Umatilla and Morrow counties. While out Christmas shopping, people are encouraged to consider the opportunity to help brighten the holiday season for those who might be less fortunate. A number of businesses and organizations have set up trees and people can stop by and choose tags and shop for requested items.

The Salvation Army Pendleton Corps sets up several Angel Trees — including one at Shari’s Cafe & Pies in Hermiston — in order to receive gifts for needy children ages 0-14 throughout the Hermiston and Pendleton areas. Helen Markle, a volunteer with the organization, said while The Salvation Army provides help to people in need throughout the year, they boost their efforts around Christmas.

“This is the season of giving,” she said. “We want to be sure each child has at least something under the tree.” 

Residents of Sun Terrace, an adult assisted living facility in Hermiston, will receive gifts through a Senior Giving Tree at the Hermiston Safeway store. Jessica Jacobson, Sun Terrace community relations director, said they’ve been spearheading the effort for about five years. She said it’s a way people can give back to the community

“It’s always nice to bring joy to their Christmas as well,” Jacobson said. “Some of the residents here don’t have family that live near.”

Jacobson said it could be something as simple as popcorn or chocolate. Some residents, she said, would like new scarves, shirts or hats. In addition, some of the Sun Terrace residents have pets and have asked for a seater for their dog.

In its third year, an effort to provide for area animals was spearheaded by Pendleton Animal Welfare Shelter. The tree at D&B Supply in Pendleton even includes tags with photos of current cats and dogs at PAWS, said Sara Hebard-Hinkle, a stove department sales associate.

A former PAWS board member, she is thrilled about the effort to help provide for animals. Everything from pet food and dog beds to leashes and blankets are needed. In addition, Hebard-Hinkle encourages people to consider volunteering their time.

“The giving trees all have the same goal,” Markle said. “We want to make their Christmas better.”

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