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Fountain Rock employees offer lessons in giving

December 17, 2006

Editor's note: In this 12-part series running through Christmas Eve, The Herald-Mail highlights people and organizations who make the holidays brighter for others.




Name: Anne Marie DeBarge and Denise Lescalleet

Age: Both women are 41

Home: DeBarge lives in Keedysville; Lescalleet lives in Hagerstown

Occupation: DeBarge is school secretary; Lescalleet is school nurse

Organization: Fountain Rock Elementary School

What do you do to make Christmas brighter? DeBarge and Lescalleet collect toys and other Christmas gifts for less fortunate students at Fountain Rock.

They put up an "angel tree" with tags listing the age and gender of the student and an item on the student's wish list. This year, DeBarge said eight families were chosen.

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In addition to items on the children's wish lists, the families get items such as winter coats, turkeys and gift cards to grocery stores.

"We have all kinds of requests," DeBarge said. "Some for things as basic as snow boots, or for things like art sets. 'Cars' is a big one this year. We just want to make sure the kids find some stuff under the tree from Santa."

Why do you do it? DeBarge said they organize the Christmas gift-giving because they love the children. She said they want those who otherwise probably would not have gifts to receive gifts. The families they buy for probably would not seek help anywhere else, she said.

"The reason we do the 'angel tree' is all about the kids," DeBarge said. "We want them to open up something really cool on Christmas morning. This is about the extras ... the one thing they really, really wanted. Santa's going to bring it."

How can others help? While most of the wish list items have been provided, anyone can call DeBarge at Fountain Rock at 301-766-8146 for other ways to help.

Comment: "I think it's been very heartwarming ... to see, not just the other members of the Fountain Rock family pitching in, but (other community groups and churches) as well. That's been really, really nice, and we appreciate other people's support with this."

By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

Anne Marie DeBarge and Denise Lescalleet collect toys and other gifts for less fortunate students at Fountain Rock Elementary School.

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