2022 AEDC Gift Sponsor drive now underway

  • Published
  • By Bradley Hicks
  • AEDC Public Affairs

With Christmas approaching, personnel at Arnold Air Force Base have the opportunity to make the holiday season brighter for nearly 200 less fortunate children in the area.

The 2022 Arnold Engineering Development Complex Gift Sponsor drive, formerly known as the AEDC Angel Tree program, is now underway.

Through the program, members of the Arnold workforce can sponsor local children from a list shared with the workforce and purchase gifts based on each child’s listed wants, such as action figures, games, bicycles and building blocks, and needs, such as shoes, shirts, socks and coats.

These children may not otherwise receive Christmas gifts from family members due to their financial situations or other hardships.

Master Sgt. Anthony Velez, AEDC senior munitions inspector, is once again overseeing the gift drive program at Arnold AFB, the headquarters of AEDC.

“The program gives us a chance to demonstrate our commitment and support to the surrounding communities, as well as ensuring a joyous holiday season for children,” Velez said. “The strong support the team members at AEDC provide is truly inspirational.”

Those wishing to take part may sponsor as many children as they wish by accessing the list via an email sent to the workforce on Nov. 4 or by calling 931-454-6782.

The Gift Sponsor drive is open to all Arnold personnel. Contactor employees are invited to participate in accordance with company policy and, if required, supervisor approval.

Velez said it is evident that many around Arnold are eager to help.

“Within three hours of the document going live, 22 team members signed up to sponsor children,” Velez said. “And as awareness of the signup grows, I anticipate all children being taken care of soon.”

Gifts are to be delivered unwrapped and bagged together with the tag number found under the “Code” column of the Gift Sponsor program list.

Larger items, such as bikes and wagons, should be assembled prior to drop off and do not have to be bagged, but such items should be identified with the corresponding tag number.

Gifts may be delivered to Room A107, the former Barber Shop, in Building 100 now through Dec. 12. Drop-off times are from 8-9 a.m. and 2-3 p.m. each day.

The morning of Dec. 12 is also the deadline for sponsoring a child this year.

Since the late 1990s, gift drive organizers at Arnold have worked with the Center for Family Development in Shelbyville. The base is among the area businesses and organizations that receive lists of children in need from the center. When the partnership began, there were around 30 children on the list provided to Arnold. As the number of people seeking support through the center has increased, so has the number of children in need of sponsorship.

More than 200 children were sponsored during the 2021 AEDC gift drive.

Those with questions about the AEDC Gift Sponsor program may call 931-454-6782.

Disclaimer: The Gift Sponsor program is a private organization which is not part of the Department of Defense or any of its components and has no governmental status.