Angel Tree project provides gifts for 65 foster kids

RP2 Royce Jones loads gift bags into a car so they can be taken to children in Ventura County’s foster care system. Waiting behind her are Lt. Lesa Welliver, staff chaplain, and Lt. Cmdr. Jeffrey Han, command chaplain.

Photo by Andrea Howry / Lighthouse

RP2 Royce Jones loads gift bags into a car so they can be taken to children in Ventura County’s foster care system. Waiting behind her are Lt. Lesa Welliver, staff chaplain, and Lt. Cmdr. Jeffrey Han, command chaplain.

AM3 Olivia Gressett with Naval Base Ventura County shows an art supply box donated for a girl in foster care who said she enjoyed arts and crafts. Whoever bought the box had it engraved with the girl's name. A total of 65 children in foster care ended up with presents thanks to the Angel Tree project, coordinated by Religious Ministries.

Photo by Andrea Howry / LIghthouse

AM3 Olivia Gressett with Naval Base Ventura County shows an art supply box donated for a girl in foster care who said she enjoyed arts and crafts. Whoever bought the box had it engraved with the girl's name. A total of 65 children in foster care ended up with presents thanks to the Angel Tree project, coordinated by Religious Ministries.

Sixty-five foster children in Ventura County received holiday presents in December thanks to the Angel Tree project coordinated by Naval Base Ventura County Religious Ministries.

“Who knows better than military families what it’s like to be away from parents and families over the holidays,” commented Lt. Lesa Welliver, the staff chaplain who organized the project. “I was so pleased to see people open their hearts and show that they best understand what it means to be apart.”

Families, command leaders, even students in the Naval Construction Training Center (NCTC) stopped by the Seabee Chapel and picked up a tag with a child’s name, age, gender and hoped-for gift, then filled the wish.

The NCTC liaison picked up the names of six children, and the students filled the youngsters’ wish lists.

“NCTC students brought in a box loaded with bags of gifts — and they’re only here for three months,” Welliver said.

Kris Bennett, the district director of Aspiranet, which runs the county’s foster care program, and Lilia Gurrola, program manager, picked up the 65 gift bags Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 12, so the children would get them in time for Christmas.

“We are so thankful for this,” Bennett said.

Perhaps the most touching present of all was for one girl who said she enjoyed arts and crafts. The person who chose her tag bought her an art set full of water colors, oil pastels and colored pencils — all in a box engraved with her name so she’ll always have something to call her own, no matter how many homes she lives in.

© 2013 Ventura County Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Commanding Officer

CAPT. LARRY VASQUEZ

Chief Staff Officer

CAPT. SCOTT LOESCHKE

Lighthouse Editor

ANDREA HOWRY, 805-989-5281

Public Affairs Officer

KIMBERLY GEARHART
Ventura County Star - 805-437-0000

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MARGIE COCHRANE, Ventura County Star

Niche Publications

JOHN GARCIA, 805-437-0365

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The Lighthouse publishes every other Thursday. All stories and photos must be submitted no later than the Thursday prior to publication. To submit a story or photo request, call the Lighthouse editor, Andrea Howry, at 989-5281 or send an e-mail to lighthouse@navy.mil.
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