Cheryl Davies is delighted to be a part of The Salvation Army’s Angel Giving Tree Program. The many thank-you certificates prominently displayed in her workplace are testimony to the 18 years that she’s supported the toy drive. And she has no plans of retiring.

Cheryl was quick to offer the reason for her inspiration: “I am a member of The Salvation Army.”

She was introduced to the Army and its programs through her family.

“My great-grandmother was my strong influence, along with my mother and grandmother.” But the motivation to do something was compounded when she lost her 18-month-old son due to illness.

Cheryl began supporting The Salvation Army’s Angel Giving Tree Program when a local shopping mall placed a life-sized tree in the lobby filled with angel-shaped tags. Each tag indicates an age-gender combination for someone to select and purchase a gift for.

To keep her son’s memory alive, Cheryl wanted to help other children have a joyful Christmas by contributing toys, food and clothing. She always returned with gifts and placed them under the tree.

“Our Own Little Community”
For the last 18 years, Cheryl has been running this program at the convenience store where she works, inside the Lower Sackville Atlantic Superstore in Nova Scotia. With permission from management, Cheryl began her mission of supporting as many children as she could by offering her patrons and co-workers the opportunity to select a tag from a tree and return with gifts. 

“People contributed and it has grown so much,” Cheryl comments. The management of the Superstore totally embraced the idea, and so did the employees. During the first year, Cheryl placed 50 tags on the tree and they were all taken.

“There is great support here at the Superstore,” Cheryl says enthusiastically. “This is like our own little community.”

A Mission to Give
Cheryl’s family continues to support the Angel Giving Tree Program. Her son, Justin, now in his late 20s, is the twin of the son she lost. He, too, has a heartfelt reason to join the community of giving.

“My son prepares a package for a two-year-old boy each year in memory of his twin brother,” she says. “Included in the package is a fire truck, which bears a special personal meaning. His grandfather was a volunteer firefighter, and when the boys were young they were each given a fire truck from him.”

Her son’s giving continued as he entered college. He approached his classmates requesting a collective monetary donation so he could purchase gifts and food for a family in need. Cheryl’s daughter, Sondree, who resides in Victoria, has also followed her mother’s passion as she contributes to her local Salvation Army Christmas program.

What began as a family tradition continues to be a project and mission of compassion, all in memory of a beloved child whose life was too brief.

“For me, it is a huge family thing,” says Cheryl. “With God’s help, I have a mission to give to others as I am grateful for the support that I have been given.”

Leave a Comment