Ashley’s Little Angels, an all-volunteer non-profit organization, is providing food, clothing, and blankets, and filling special gift requests for more than 160 children and 60 families this year in Wisconsin. The organization, which began in Mississippi, has generated over $1,000,000 in donations and benefited nearly 10,000 children since 1997 in Mississippi, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc. (Ashley) contributed almost half that amount. In addition, Ashley’s employees have contributed over $400,000 to the charity since 1997.
Todd Wanek, Ashley’s President and CEO, stated, “Our heart goes out to all children who are struggling this Christmas and we hope that our contributions help brighten their spirits and those of their families. We also want to thank all of the volunteers of this wonderful organization for their selfless efforts in serving those who need it most.”
Tom Qualman, an employee of Ashley and a co-founder of Ashley’s Little Angels - Midwest chapter Ashley’s Little Angels, explained, “It’s all about the kids.” He reported that in addition to the monetary donations of Ashley and its employees, the charity receives a great deal of support from area schools, businesses, community members and churches. The organization served nine school districts in Trempealeau County this year.
School guidance counselors and district nurses initiate the process by selecting children they feel could use a little financial help. Ashley’s Little Angels volunteers see only the child’s first name, age, gender, clothing sizes and wish lists. If the family accepts, they are asked to fill out a family information form. This decision has the potential to have a positive effect on other members of the child’s family, as well. When one family member is selected, all other children in that family are also provided for. Each child receives several outfits of clothing, including socks, underwear, pants, shirts, shoes, a blanket and a coat, if requested. The child also receives a special gift, usually a toy, and each family receives a food basket.