Soroptimists gear up for annual Sharing Tree

— The 28th Okanogan Valley Soroptimist Club Sharing Tree will be in place and ready for donors Nov. 22.

The group is starting earlier than usual because Thanksgiving falls so late this year, Soroptimist member B.J. Bleakney said. Normally, the tree goes up after Thanksgiving.

The state Department of Social and Health Services is providing the club with Christmas wishes of young clients. Names are not included.

Those wishes will be written on ornaments made by East Omak Elementary School students in Mary Boyd, Janet McKee, Alicia O’Dell and Annelise Franklin’s classes.

A donor can take an ornament, buy one or more gifts on the wish list, and return the gift and ornament to the tree at North Cascades Bank, 721 Okoma Drive.

Bleakney said 305 children’s wish lists will be on the tree, and the requests often are for practical things instead of frivolous ones.

One boy, age 17, requested towels, pillowcases and a blanket.

“That just made me want to cry,” Bleakney said.

Last year’s Sharing Tree helped more than 200 children.

The tree is one of several gift-giving opportunities in the area each holiday season.

The Chronicle has hosted the Tree of Giving for the past few years; last year the gifts went to The Support Center.

Other opportunities include toy and coat drives, Salvation Army bellringers and Christmas food baskets.

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