The Tyler-based nonprofit Field of Dreams is recruiting donors and volunteers for their fourth annual Angel Tree program, benefiting children of incarcerated people in Smith and Rusk counties.
Field of Dreams Founder Wendi Ward said the program will provide Christmas gifts for around 100 local children if the group collects enough donations by their deadline, Dec. 10. A team of volunteers, made up partially by Overton High School organizations, will wrap gifts on Dec. 11 and distribute them in a public party on Dec. 18 from noon to 4 p.m. at First United Methodist Church Overton.
“You know, people say different things about helping people overseas, and that’s wonderful,” Ward said, “But definitely know that locally, in Rusk County, in Smith County and in Gregg County, there is a need… We try to be a voice for the children.”
Field of Dreams selects the participating children based on requests from incarcerated parents.
In previous years, the nonprofit distributed gifts in Gregg and Smith counties, but Ward said they have chosen Rusk County for this year to focus on smaller communities.
Donors may contact Ward at (832) 233-2465 to receive an angel assignment with information on each participating child and their wants. Field of Dreams does not display the angels on a tree like other similar programs due to the sensitive nature of each child’s situation.
The group is also looking for volunteers to help wrap gifts on Dec. 11 from 9 a.m. to noon at FUMC Overton. Monetary donations can be made to Field of Dreams on the nonprofit’s website, www.fieldofdreams323.com.
Ward and her husband Chuck began Field of Dreams in 2018 after helping serve Christmas dinner to incarcerated people. The Angel Tree project has become their largest service action since then, but the nonprofit also hosts smaller events like free family movie nights in Overton.