Tree of Hope helps families in the community

Published 12:05 am Saturday, December 19, 2015

This year, the Rowan County Department of Social Services and Thrivent Financial served 51 children and 23 families with their “Tree of Hope” campaign. Tree of Hope is a yearly partnership that began six years ago to help out need families in the community. Kim Freely, field office professional with Thrivent’s Piedmont Regional Team, says that it’s part of what the company does.

“We just help churches and the community with whatever we can,” she said.

Spirits were high Friday morning as Thrivent and DSS employees, along with special guests, NASCAR star Michael McDowell and his pit crew, unloaded bags of food and brightly-wrapped presents.

For local kids in need, Tree of Hope is a small Christmas miracle.

“This means so much to our families,” Johna Wiseman, CPS supervisor, said.

Wiseman provides Thrivent with names and wishlists from kids in the in-home family services program and Thrivent clients provide the presents. They also purchase enough food to last the family for a week. McDowell said it was an opportunity to have an “unbelievable impact in communities.”

“It’s not just putting gifts under a tree, but food on a table,” he said.

Thrivent sponsors McDowell, so he’s familiar with their work in communities, but says that this is the first time his pit crew has been able to join him.

“We have a great opportunity to make an impact in our communities,” he said.

Once the bags and boxes are organized, they’re delivered to each home. This is Tree of Hope’s sixth year. Previously, they’ve served 215 children in 93 families, and hope to continue the giving tradition for many years to come.

“It’s wonderful,” Wiseman said. “It’s just wonderful.”