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Angels On High

Xmas cheer delivered to needy children

Thanks to The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program, many needy children will celebrate the holiday season. The program matches up children with donors who purchase gifts and clothing. Children’s requests are detailed on paper angels typically hung on Christmas trees. This year, 65 employees from The Treiber Group, a Garden City insurance agency, chose to participate in the program.

“It’s turned into a yearly tradition here at work and for my family,” said Teresa Garzia, an account executive at The Treiber Group. “I always choose a boy and a girl. When I started my children were 7 and 3 and now 16 years later we are still at it. Through the years we shopped together and it was an opportunity for me to teach them to be mindful of those less fortunate. I typically purchase a coat, hat, gloves, an outfit and of course a  toy.”

Major Philip Wittenberg, the Salvation Army’s Nassau County coordinator, praised The Treiber Group’s long-term sponsorship, noting the high rate of employee participation.

“They have been a great partner over the years,” said Wittenberg. “Of the businesses that participate in the Hempstead program, The Treiber Group leads the way.”

This holiday effort was developed in 1979 by Salvation Army officers, Lt. Colonel Charles and Shirley White. Today, this grassroots effort started by the Nashville couple has turned into one of the Salvation Army’s highest profile Christmas support programs assisting upwards of 1 million families across the country. Paper angels with the child’s wish are hung in local malls or sent to participating companies. Anyone can participate individually or as part of a sponsorship.

For The Treiber Group, which has been operating for over 100 years and is ranked among the top 100 U.S. insurance brokers, the effort is a chance to give back to the community. The organization has participated in the Angel Tree Program for over 16 years. Many employees look forward to choosing their “angels.” The paper angels detail the child’s name, gender, age and needs. The connection to a child in the community has fostered a sense of camaraderie within the company as well.

Operations Manager Margaret McGuire says she finds great satisfaction choosing her angels. McGuire, who also has two children, makes a point of choosing children the same age as her own children so they provide input into the gifts.

Garzia says the company truly embraces the program with nearly 80 percent participating. The purchases range from the practical to simply fun. For those who aren’t shoppers, funds are collected and a core of volunteers does the shopping.

“We try to meet all the children’s requests,” added Garzia. “One year there was a bike under the tree and even an XBox gaming system. It’s a wonderful feeling to see all those gifts wrapped and ready to go. There’s nothing like giving back.”

For further information or to sponsor a child, please call 516-485-4900.