During the 2023 holiday season in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, 595 children and 178 families total were served by the Community’s Christmas Angels program, led by Annamari Hogan, LPC, Clinical Quality Assurance at SRPMIC Social Services, and her “Elf Squad” of Christmas Angels Committee members.
Social Services has taken on the task of continuing the program for more than 10 years, seven of which have been under Hogan’s watch.
Between October and the first week of December, the program accepts applications from Community-member families to be sponsored for gifts for the holiday season. The names of people who are accepted have traditionally been put on decorated Christmas trees with angel tags in different departments, to be chosen for sponsorship.
Anyone who missed the application cutoff date has the opportunity to be put on a supplemental parent shopping list to come in and pick out leftover gifts for families.
The program connected 32 individual sponsors, departments and agencies with more than 400 children for sponsorship.
On Parent Shopping Day, December 19, those families were able to come into the Social Services office and browse among the gifts displayed on tables in a large room. During the event, presents were provided to 188 children from 59 different families. The gifts were separated into categories from small to large.
“After we get through our families that are scheduled to shop, then we open the gifts up for other families who may not have registered for [Parent Shopping Day], and also for case workers that are working with families who need extra support,” said Hogan. “We don’t want to turn people away.”
This holiday season, the program received more than $13,000 in monetary and gift card donations.
Funds from the Battle of the Bosses, bake sales and SRPMIC enterprises and other Community-affiliated businesses that have donated money are used to go shopping.
Many departments and divisions also lent a hand by donating gift cards, toys and other items.
Hogan would like to thank the following groups for their dedication and donations: Marriott/Residence Inn, Summit Automation, Tribal Health, DeRito Partners, the Salt River Day Labor Program, SRPMIC Cultural Resources Department, Salt River Materials Group, Casino Arizona/Talking Stick Resort, the SRPMIC Family Advocacy Center, the River People Health Center, Diabetes Prevention and the Zumba instructors, SRPMIC Department of Corrections, the Salt River Police Department, SRPMIC Legal Services Office, SRPMIC Tribal Prosecutors, SRPMIC Social Services, SRPMIC Human Resources/Employee Relations, Scottsdale Community College, the Salvation Army, the Accelerated Learning Academy, Youth Services, Salt River Education, the Early Childhood Education Center, DEVCO and the LDS Women’s Group.
Thanks for their hard work also go out to Hogan’s fellow Christmas Angels department representatives Katrina Ruiz, William Prichard, Blessing Martinez, Char Johnson, Kaitlyn Schurz, Rena Holloway, Matthew Garza, Francisca Hernandez, Carmen Briones, Stacie Mitchell, Heidi Picard, Rebecca Collins and Jason Seepie.