Two Cordell businesses, Shorty’s and Great Plains Bank, are sponsoring “Hero Trees” this season, helping to provide Christmas gifts for area children in foster care. The trees are decorated with tags that represent a child in foster care in Washita and Custer counties. Each tag includes the age and gender of the child, but for confidentiality reasons no additional information is included.
Shorty’s owner/operator Tanya Venable has a personal investment in the foster care system, which is why she chose to sponsor a tree at her business.
“When I was nine years old I was in foster care for a month while my parents were going through a divorce,” she said. “It was a very dark time, being away from my family. If we can bring a little joy to someone who doesn’t have their family at Christmas, then that’s what we’re going to do.”
Great Plains Bank of Cordell president Mac-Crae Brunker echoed Venable’s sentiments. “We’re doing it because every child deserves a merry Christmas,” he said.
According to Cheri Thomason, the project coordinator with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, there are 106 children in foster care between the two counties, and every little bit helps those children feel loved. In addition to the Hero Tree gifts, the department is also throwing a Christmas party for the foster children and families. Thomason said she is hard at work trying to raise money to help pay for the dinner and provide little Santa gifts for the children. Anyone wishing to help is encouraged to contact her at 580.816.8601.
The Hero Tree tags will be available this week, but the gifts need to be taken back to Shorty’s or Great Plains Bank on or before Monday, Dec. 2.