After the tornadoes struck Bradley County, Luithle volunteered to coordinate the disaster relief center at Peerless Road Church, and later in the summer, when the Salvation Army Distribution Center moved to 2960 Barney’s Lane, Luithle accepted a paid position and moved with the operation.
Now, in November and December, the Angel Tree coordinator and countless volunteers have labored the past two weeks from 9 in the morning until 10 o’clock at night accepting toys, checking lists and making sure each and every child gets that special gift for Christmas.
Today is the last day of preparation for distribution on Friday, when each of the 339 families will be received by appointment beginning at 9 a.m. Fifty families each half hour will be greeted and share in a short devotional before they are given the gift of a free 8x10 family portrait from HELP Portraits and Lee University. High School students from Tennessee Christian Preparatory School and other volunteers will help distribute the Angel Tree gifts, Christmas stockings for each child and a turkey for Christmas dinner.
Luithke said there are 709 children on the Angel Tree list this year. Last year, the number was closer to 500. She said the increase is likely due to a combination of the April storms and the economy.