By Brooke Curley
SAFFORD – It’s the season for giving but time is running out, so it’s best to stop by the Infinity Tree before it’s too late.
Located at the Graham County Chamber of Commerce, the tree is decorated with handmade ornaments labeled with the names of local foster children. Anyone who wishes to brighten a child’s Christmas this year may choose an ornament from the tree, buy the child a present and bring it back to the Graham County Chamber of Commerce. Unwrapped presents are to be left at the Chamber and will be distributed on a Christmas party Dec. 14. However, the deadline for gift giving is Dec. 9.
Krisin Jackson, who is in charge of this year’s Infinity Tree, has been working with the Catholic Community Services of Southeastern Arizona for more than a year.
“We do foster care and adoption services mostly through the department of child services or DES,” Jackson said. “The children (who) are on the tree are from the families of our foster parents; Some (who) are biological, some (who) have been adopted, and then there’s some (who) are foster children. A lot of the children (who) have been adopted have been in the foster system.”
Jackson told Gila Valley Central that the ages of the children receiving gifts are from newborn to 15. When asked what type of gifts the children need, Jackson said fun toys would make the best Christmas presents.
“I think they need toys and fun things,” she said. “They are provided with clothing, (s0) clothing is usually not an issue. They just need something fun, so once they do leave the foster system they can take it with them.”
Jackson told Gila Valley Central that initially, there were 71 ornaments on the tree.
“You come, pick up the ornament, look at the age and gender of the child and once you bought your gift you bring it back to the Chamber of Commerce,” Jackson said. “They like blankets and toys they can carry with them. I know it’s difficult because they say (to bring) age appropriate (toys). Usually, I find that if you give something (that’s) close to your heart, it will be close to theirs.”
While Jackson invites all who are able to donate to give using the tree, she said foster children need a family above all else.
“Foster and adoption are very much needed here in the Gila Valley,” Jackson said. “We’re right here in town; everyone drives by and never realizes it. In the state of Arizona, we have 15,000 children in foster care. We get children from Benson, Cochise County (and) Globe. If there’s not enough beds where they are, we send them to where there are beds.”