HRHA Annual Giving Tree has a new location

Published: Nov. 11, 2020 at 11:59 AM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — The Harrisonburg Redevelopment and Housing Authority put their annual giving tree up a little early this year at the Agora market.

“Agora is a new partner with us this year, which is really exciting,” says Everett Brubaker, Resident Services and Communications Coordinator for HRHA.

The giving tree usually goes up in the Valley Mall around Thanksgiving, but this year for the first time there are two trees. Participants pick a child’s name off the tree, buy a gift on their wish list, and return the gift in a bag with the ornament.

Brubaker says normally every year all children’s names get taken from the tree.

“Christmas can be a big expense on families," he says. "The community steps up and provides gifts for families, that’s one less thing they have to worry about, and avoid maybe a difficult decision between giving gifts to their kids or covering bills.”

Most of the families who receive gifts are part of the Family Self-Sufficiency program. Brubaker says they serve around 90 to 100 kids.

Angelica Caraballo has been in the program for about two years, and says it has been a big help for her and her son Justice.

“This program gives you that security net, you know, that safety blanket," she says. "Whatever trials and tribulations you’re going through, they still make you feel like you’re not failing, like it’s okay to go backwards but you know what, we’re gonna keep moving forward.”

She says the giving tree comes at a great time because Justice’s birthday and Christmas falls on the same month, and he already has his wish list.

“Dinosaurs. Everything dinosaurs. If it’s dinosaurs, he’ll love it," Caraballo said.

Participants can return the ornament and the gift to the giving tree or the HRHA office on Reservoir Street in Harrisonburg up until December 13th.

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