Bay St. Louis native Elder LaChina Tillman Ozment (aka "China") -- along with her family and friends -- went throughout the community over the holidays leaving angels (made from kitchen dish towels and pot holders) on front door steps and doors. The angels were left anonymously unless, the deliverers were met at the door by homeowners, with whom they shared a brief holiday chat.
Ozment said the purpose this year was "to be a blessing to the community where Iwas raised and to teach the children about the true meaning of Christmas, which is to Celebrate Jesus's birth. And since Jesus is in heaven, we honor His birthday and who He is to us by sharing love and giving gifts to one another, which is a little different from how we traditionally celebrate our own birthdays."
The children enjoyed giving to others, Ozment said, "especially getting hugs and seeing smiles of gratitude from people they didn’t even know. Everyone worked hard helping make the angels and had a lot of fun giving them out.
LaChina created the "Angel's at Your Doorstep Project" in 2010. She has done this project in communities where she haslived over the years, including Colorado Springs, Co.; Memphis, Tenn.; and now Bay St. Louis.
"The project has been expanded to doors within hospitals such as The Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Program at Methodist University Hospital in Memphis, surprising the patients that were in the hospital and couldn't be home for Christmas,": she said. Ozment knew how it felt to be stuck in a hospital instead of being able to be home celebrating with loved ones during the holiday season because she had spent two Christmas seasons in the hospital before being healed of Leukemia and recovering from a stem cell transplant.
"Angels at Your Doorstep has given many angels over the years, all handmade at home," she said. "This year has been the biggest project yet, and was really special being back in her childhood community and working with the children, especially after a three year hiatus of the project due to my illness and recovery process, which is still ongoing.
"The children had a ton of fun! It took two days due to the rain. Of course they still wanted to give out angels in the cold and rain. I'm so proud of each of them and my mother, Shirley Tillman -- our Queen Elf. We all had a blast!"