DECEMBER 15, 2016, SASEBO, Japan (NNS) – Commander, U.S. Fleet Activities Sasebo community members came together with the CFAS Religious Ministries Department Dec. 10 2016 to bring gifts to orphans. The gift-giving was done as part of the Salvation Army Angel Tree program.
CFAS has been working with local orphanages for over 30 years using the Angel Tree program to provide gifts that range from needed clothing to toys such as basket balls and soccer balls.
“The saying that it is more blessed to give than to receive is true,” said Lt. Cmdr. Louis Lee, Commander, U.S. Fleet Activities Sasebo Command Chaplain. “During our visit to the orphanage, many commented how they enjoyed giving gifts to the orphans. It made them feel ‘really good’ knowing that they made a big difference in the lives of these orphans.”
The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program is designed to provide new clothing and toys to underprivileged children and families through the support of donors. Angel Trees are decorated with numbered paper angel tags with the first name, age and gender of a child in need, along with clothing sizes and the child’s wish list. Contributors remove one or more tags from the tree and purchase appropriate gifts for the child or children described on the tags.
According to Lee, 89 volunteers delivered the gifts, which were donated by 410 people. They went to three orphanages and gave to 152 orphans. Donations for the program were given to the CFAS chapel by Expeditionary Strike Group Seven, the CFAS community, chapel congregations, Sasebo Motorcycle Association and anonymous donors.
Leading the way to the orphanages was the Sasebo Motorcycle Association, like mechanical reindeer followed by a classic red pick-up truck driven by Petty Officer 1st Class Nicholas Arias dressed as St. Nick himself. Dianne Hodges, a rider in the procession and a Darby Elementary 4th Grade teacher, spoke about getting to give to children.
“Being a teacher, anything you could ever do for students is just one of a kind. Giving to the children is so humbling,” explained Hodges. “To listen to these children say ‘I get to keep this for myself?’ that speaks volumes.”
CFAS enables 13 forward-deployed naval forces and 26 tenant commands across 11 geographic locations, supporting a community of 7,000 Sailors, civilians, and family members. It has received awards for Safety, Environmental, Zumwalt Lodging, Golden Anchor, Food Service, and the 2015 Region Japan Installation of the Year.
By Petty Officer 3rd Class Kristopher S. Haley, Commander U.S. Fleet Activities Sasebo Public Affairs