Daily Point of Light # 1941 Jul 12, 2001

Three employees of the Pasco County Survey and Mapping Department originally formed the Pasco Angels in 1997. They enlisted the aid of their families and other employees to assist them in their mission of the production of holiday baskets, with some of “the smells” of Christmas for the elderly home bound and those with special needs. Today the group consists of approximately 100 associates.

Baskets are lined with greenery, tissue paper and allspice. The contents of the baskets are items which can not be purchased with food stamps such as: toilet paper, personal grooming aids, socks, playing cards, puzzle books and small packages of Kleenex. Donated cards and envelopes produce stationary packages with the business and medical community supplying items such as pens and notepads. Hotel soaps, shampoos, etc. and cosmetic samples are also included. This year 300 handmade sewing kits and wrapped paperback books were also included. An annual hand painted ornament was included with each basket.

The basket contents generally require one year to compile with donations being received throughout the year. Baskets are cleaned and/or painted with additional baskets purchased throughout the year as well. Socks are folded in groups of two pairs and banded with a ribbon. Men and ladies underwear are wrapped or banded with a ribbon. Special wrapping is given to pantyhose, pajamas, or specialty items. Donated stationery is wrapped with lace doilies and ribbon and a pen is placed within a bag and heat shrunk.

In March, a theme is decided and ornaments (330 or so) are painted/made for the year by (Mrs. Henry Ford) one angel who is paralyzed on one side. Last year one angel Mrs. Mary De Rossett prepared 300 or so sewing kits. Dish garden pots are purchased or donated and the plants are transplanted to pots in October. In November, a yard sale is held to help purchase the carnations for the live flower arrangements. The greenery for the arrangements is made from Christmas tree clippings at numerous Christmas tree sale sites. No salary is paid or awarded.

While this is a local grassroots activity, inquiries from churches and other counties have been made. Generally exchange students from Germany assist and this year, Interact Club of Ridgewood High School assisted. They have been acknowledged by the Board of County Commissioners for their work and were pleased to have one of the County Commissioners, Pat Mulieri Ed PHD, assist them this year in the assembly of the baskets.

In 1998, 133 baskets, 30 fresh flower arrangements and 20 dish gardens or decorated plants were submitted to Elderly Nutrition. In 1999, 316 baskets, 112 fresh flowers arrangements, 20 artificial flower arrangements, and 62 plants/dish gardens were submitted. In 2000, 400+ baskets, 225 fresh flowers arrangements, 12 arrangements of centerpieces and wreaths and 26 dish garden were delivered to the Elderly Nutrition program. Some of the Angels also delivered the products to the homebound clients of the program. When the assembly angels reached 60, the program had to expand to a larger facility, that of the Elderly Nutrition Site. In the past the assembly process was performed in a garage and driveway.

Every year one floral arrangement is placed on the doorstep of an elderly couple on Christmas Eve with a card saying “Believe.” This year the arrangement was changed and said “To: You, From: Pass It On.”