For the past five years, a very special Christmas tree has taken place among the elaborate holiday displays at Bountiful Interiors. Bountiful’s Annual Angel Tree, decorated with the holiday wishes of Mid-Shore families who have been impacted by domestic violence, has become a destination in itself for community members seeking to brighten the holidays for traumatized families.
Most of the tags on the tree represent the holiday “wishes” of families and children served by the Mid-Shore Council on Family Violence (MSCFV), including those living in the Council’s two shelters. Some tags represent requests by the Council itself for items that will enhance its ability to serve clients.
Jamie Merida, Bountiful’s owner, says, “My entire staff believes that this is one of the most important things that we do all year. The ‘wishes’ on the tree come from children whose lives have been upended by domestic violence. We feel honored to be able to, once again, host the tree and enormously grateful for the overwhelming support that the community has shown for this effort year after year.”
Jamie adds, “The idea for the tree actually grew out of the informal response of many community members to an initiative taken by the Bountiful staff members several years ago. Each year around Christmas, someone from the store would call the MSCFV to find out ‘what the kids needed.’ As customers caught on to what the Bountiful staff was trying to do, they, too, wanted to help.”
“From there it was just a small step to placing an Angel Tree front and center at Bountiful during the holidays,” he adds. “If you ever want your faith in humanity restored, come to Bountiful around the second week in December and look at the tree. The number of gifts surrounding it is truly awe-inspiring. Many people, we discovered, not only take a tag and fulfill that wish, but buy additional gifts for the child they have drawn.”
The Angel Tree will be at Bountiful from November 2 through December 15. Community members are encouraged to drop by the store, which is located at 218 North Washington Street in Easton, and pick a gift tag from the tree. Wrapped gifts, with the original tag firmly attached, must be returned to the store no later than December 15 so that they can be delivered in time for Christmas.
Jeanne Yeager, Executive Director of MSCFV, says, “The amazing generosity and support of the community for our clients during the holiday season makes us feel very fortunate. Without the assistance from Bountiful and its customers, many victims of domestic violence and their children would not have a holiday season. Jamie Merida and Bountiful have been vital partners in helping MSCFV serve families at a critical time in their lives.”
The Mid-Shore Council on Family Violence works to break the cycle of domestic violence in Talbot, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Caroline Counties through intervention and prevention. It provides shelter, counseling and services and advocacy for both victims and abusers.
For additional information about the Mid-Shore Council on Family Violence, visit www.mscfv.org or call 410-479-1149. The Council’s 24-hour crisis hotline is 1-800-927-4673. For additional information about Bountiful, visit www.bountifuldecor.com or call 410-763-8500.