Scott Kirouac walked into his grandson’s school some 11 years ago to check in for a Christmas program. A little girl walked in to turn in a note, and Kirouac couldn’t help but notice she was wearing a very dirty dress and duct-taped shoes that were too big. He shared with the staff how sad it was to see the girl have to live and go to school like that. The staff said that she would be going without a single gift for Christmas that year.
“I went home that night, and it really wore on me,” said Kirouac. “I went back to the school the next day and asked the staff if I wrote them a check, would they be willing to shop for a few of the kids that would be going without a Christmas that year?” He also informed them that the funds came with one condition: The money couldn’t be used to buy gift cards or to give them cash due to the fear that the funds could be misused. The money had to be used to buy something specifically for the kids.
The staff and teachers were honored to buy their students gifts for Christmas and sent back a heartfelt letter after the holidays that motivated Kirouac to try it again the following year. This was the beginning of Ag Angels, a program that was established to help less fortunate children in Florida during Christmas.
The teachers know which kids in their classrooms need help at Christmastime. The teachers identify these children, reach out to their parents or guardians and tell them that an organization has donated money to help provide Christmas gifts for their children. The teachers then interview the kids, who provide lists of needs (not wants). “A couple years ago a kid asked for a blanket. He had never had a blanket to sleep with, only a sheet,” said Kirouac.
Over the past 11 years, Ag Angels has raised over $288,000. Recipients include children in 17 Highlands County schools, seven Hardee County schools, Guardian Ad Litem programs in Highlands and Hardee counties, Highlands County Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Redlands Christian Migrant Association.
The first round of distributions to schools begins on Dec. 5. Donations after this date will be distributed to other recipient organizations that have extra time to shop for the children before Christmas.
Last year, Ag Angels raised $76,150 in 45 days. Help Ag Angels reach its goal of raising $80,000 to bring the joy of Christmas to hundreds of local children.
Visit agangels.org to learn more and donate.
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