Midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy’s 6th Company and representatives from the Annapolis chapter of the Salvation Army gathered in Bancroft Hall Dec. 2 for the 24th annual Giving Tree lighting ceremony.
Each year the midshipmen decorate a holiday tree in the rotunda of Bancroft Hall with paper angel ornaments provided by the Salvation Army. Each paper angel has the first name, age, gender, and wish list of an underprivileged child in the local community. Contributors can choose to remove one or more tags from the tree and purchase gifts for the child or children represented.
"The Giving Tree is another way the Brigade of Midshipmen and Naval Academy family are giving back to the local community,” said Midshipman 1st Class Manuel De La Cruz. “We are always willing to help and serve others. With the help of the Salvation Army, this Christmas season will be extra special for many children around the Annapolis area."
The academy received more than 500 angel ornaments for the tree this year. Naval Academy midshipmen, faculty, and staff will have the opportunity to spread holiday cheer to hundreds of children in the greater Annapolis area.
"As a brigade, we are eager to give back to the community in any way possible in exchange for the continuous support that we receive year-round," said Midshipman 2nd Class Riley Miller. “The happiness and joy that the Giving Tree brings are a true representation of the holiday spirit.”
After choosing an angel, the donor purchases a gift for that child and places it unwrapped under the tree. The donations will be picked up by the Salvation Army Dec. 12 to be wrapped and distributed to the children Dec. 22, just in time for the holidays.
"Being here for 18 months now, I am more and more convinced that selfless service is what defines the Brigade of Midshipmen," said Commandant of Midshipmen Capt. Bill Byrne. "Through their actions here throughout the year, they are truly being excellent."