by Dave Smith
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
11/16/2015 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The
arrival of the holiday season presents not only opportunities to
receive, but to give as well. Two programs on Peterson Air Force Base
stand out in providing ways to do both.
Angel trees, coordinated through the Peterson AFB Chapel, are sponsored
by various groups and located in six spots around the base. The Santa
Shop is operated through the Airman's Attic and located in their shop at
building 1525 across from the R.P. Lee Youth Center.
Both programs aim to help fill in the gaps for families in need, whether
it is due to a rough time financially, temporary duty assignment or
some other reason. Chaplain (Capt.) Jessica Werner said many people are
familiar with the Angel trees and have participated in various versions,
so they already have some knowledge about what is taking place.
"It's to give the kiddos stuff and things they might need," she said.
The Santa Shop is similar in its focus. Shoppers at the Airman's Attic
get to make an additional trip to the Santa Shop to select gifts for
their children. This visit is above the once per week trip allowed to
the Airman's Attic. Each shopper is allowed one trip and one gift per
During the year staff at the Airman's Attic watch for new and almost new
items that can be used as a child's Christmas gift and they are set
aside for the Santa Shop. Shoppers are told when they arrive at the
store they can go into the Santa Shop, a back room at the store.
Shoppers sign in and are assisted by a staff volunteer as they go around
the room selecting gifts. Two shoppers at a time can visit the shop,
and when they are finished staff will come and get the next person in
line. That system helps get more people through the Santa Shop said
Rackel Haskell, Airman's Attic volunteer manager.
Gifts include things like Wii and PlayStation game consoles and families
can pick up extra items like stocking stuffers and wrapping paper as
bonuses. Most items are for early teens and younger Haskell said. The
Santa Shop is open to E-5 and below, with children, who are normally
eligible to use the facility. Santa Shop will open Nov. 30 and run until
there are no gifts left, usually about two weeks.
Angel trees are operated in near anonymity, said Master Sgt. Scott
Devine, 21st Space Wing superintendent of chapel operations, and
participation is open to anyone who is associated with Peterson AFB.
Information about those submitted to receive gifts is given to either
the chapel or to one's first sergeant. The name, gender, age, wants,
needs and sizes are required. Names will be left off of the angels when
placed on trees to preserve anonymity. Items area delivered to
recipients by the first sergeants or by chapel staff.
"There is still a stigma," Devine said about receiving gifts from the
Angel trees. "We are trying to get rid of the stigma. It's an
opportunity to give back. The leadership at the command bases wants to
give back to the Airmen on the base. It is their opportunity to show
appreciation and give back during the holiday season."
Angels are removed from trees and the information on them is used as a
guide to giving gifts. There is no limit as to how many angels can be
taken. For example a family may each wish to take an angel or someone
may wish to take more than one, which is acceptable. When gifts are
purchased they should be brought unwrapped to the chapel.
Anyone can be submitted to receive Angel tree gifts regardless of rank
or connection to the base. For children submitted to receive gifts there
is an age limit of 17 years old.
Some Angel trees are already in place with angels on them and all six
will be ready by Nov. 20. They're located at the chapel, building 350,
the physical fitness center, Air Force Space Command headquarters,
NORAD/ NORTHCOM headquarters and the Base Exchange. The program runs
until Dec. 11.
About 30 angel submissions have been made already, but they would like
to have more, Werner said. Gifts should be dropped off at the chapel no
later than Dec. 14. Donations of wrapping paper are needed as well.
"During this time of year people have a heart to give. For the most part
a lot of people give out of generosity. It is a joy to give," Werner
"We do it as much for us as for them because we get such a kick out of
it," said Sandra Trean, donation lead at the Airman's Attic.