Christmas is a little more than two weeks away, and a Jasper County agency needs your help to make sure its a bright one.
For about a decade now, the Jasper County Public Administrator’s Office has placed an adoption tree at the county courthouse in Carthage. The folks that are on this tree are a very select group of adults from around the county. They range in age, from 18 on up, and for some families, adopting one of those folks has become a cornerstone of the Christmas season.
“In fact, we adopt someone every year, we adopt two people every year,” says MaryLou Newman-Teel.
Why two people? Marylou Newman-Teal says that’s because it’s a learning exercise.
“I started this to help my children, educate them that it’s always nice to help other people who may not have the things that you have, that you consider everyday things in your life, these people may not have those things,” says Newman-Teel.
The people on this tree come from a very specific pool of Jasper County residents.
“Adults in Jasper county that have been deemed incapacitated by the probate court,” says Angie Casavecchia, Jasper County Public Administrator.
Jasper County public administrator Angie Casavecchia says that means she acts as their guardian.
“Most of them do not have family. Some have family that have tried to be their guardian in the past, and it’s just easier to be mom or dad and not guardian with making all the rules, so we’ll take over that roll for them,” says Angie Casavecchia.
And Casavecchia wants to make sure they aren’t left out this holiday season.
“We found the first year that I was in office that there were going to be a lot of people that weren’t going to have any gifts, so we decided at that time ten years ago to start this adoption tree,” says Casavecchia.
She says it’s a simple process. Drop by the Carthage courthouse and pick a name off the tree. You can buy as much or as little off the list as your budget allows.
“Most of the people that are in nursing homes, they request things like pajamas, and sweatpants, and snacks for their room,” says Casavecchia.
And if you can’t make it to the courthouse, she says all you have to do is give her office a call at (417) 358-4271. Marylou says her kids are older now, but still ask about the adoptions every year, helping her keep the magic of Christmas alive.
“To see their hearts grow for helping others, it’s a good feeling,” says MaryLou Newman-Teel.
That’s not the only way you can help. The Jasper County Public Administrator’s Office has also placed adoption trees at businesses and churches around Carthage.
All you have to do is go to one of those places, and pick an ornament. Each one has something on it, like shampoo, body wash or other personal care items.
Cassavecchia says they do the personal care drive because most of the folks she serves as clients only have about 30 dollars a month to live off of, and may have to choose between something like shampoo and medication. As a side note, she says in the past, this personal care drive has helped them gather enough supplies to last through about June of the following year.