MUSC prepares for Angel Tree parade on Friday
The gifts are starting to pile up in the MUSC grounds crew shop, as everyone prepares for the annual Angel Tree parade on Friday.
“It really is such a great project, such a good thing for MUSC to do. It’s one of my favorite things to do every year. Our whole team looks forward to it,” said Robin Smith, grounds department supervisor.
Every year, Volunteer Services festoons trees across campus and at satellite locations with “angel tags” – simple wish lists that low-income parents have submitted to the Salvation Army, so they can give their kids a Christmas. Tags specify each child’s size and the type of clothing they need, like uniform khakis and pajamas, as well as some fun wishes like a bike, football or Legos.
Anyone can pull a tag off a tree to “adopt” a child. The big reveal is the parade, where all the gifts are carried to the Horseshoe for collection by the Salvation Army.
Smith said the parade started off small. At first, former Angel Tree coordinator Liz Williams needed help transporting the gifts. She didn’t have any vehicles, so she turned to the grounds crew for help.
“We couldn’t just take the gifts in our regular vehicles – they’d get dirty!” Smith said. “So we started cleaning them out and decorating them to make it a little more festive.”
That was the start of the parade. Now it’s a much bigger affair. This year the Patriot Guard Riders, Charleston Police Pipes and Drums honor band, Burke High Steppin’ Bulldog Band, Lowcountry Model ‘A’ Ford Club, Y102.5, princesses from Glass Slipper Productions, Charlie T. RiverDog and Coastal Belle Singers will be marching. There also will be floats and face painters and, of course, a visit from Santa.
This year MUSC’s new light medium tactical vehicle, Big Blue, will join the parade.
Smith’s crew is always on the lookout for decorations for their vehicles. The grounds crew commandeered the decorations left behind when Family Medicine moved out of its building, and people will drop off decorations they don’t need at home anymore. Workers also make the rounds at Christmas tree lots to gather greenery that’s been trimmed from trees as they’re sold.
“That way we have Christmas greens for the trucks, not just palm fronds and oak leaves,” she laughed.
Friday morning will be merry and busy for the grounds crew.
“It’s a morning filled with decorating and Christmas music and hot chocolate, and we all dress up. We also help line up the parade,” Smith said.
The 2018 Angel Tree parade begins at noon. It will begin on Ehrhardt Street, turn onto the Medical District Greenway, continue onto Jonathan Lucas, turn left onto Calhoun Street, left onto Ashley Avenue and into the Horseshoe.