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Ashley's Little Angels helps more than 750 children during holidays

 Ashley Furniture, Ashley’s Little AngelsAn Ashley’s Little Angels volunteer Santa stands with sleigh and other gifts for children ready to be distributed.
 Ashley Furniture, Ashley’s Little AngelsAshley’s Little Angels volunteers gave gifts to 750 children in three states this holiday season.

ARCADIA, Wis. — Ashley's Little Angels, a nonprofit organization founded by Ashley Furniture, provided food and clothing and filled gift requests for more than 750 children and 250 families this holiday season in Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

The organization raised more than $180,000 in 2011 and about $750,000 since it was founded in Mississippi in 1997, to the benefit of thousands of children. Ashley Furniture has contributed nearly half of total donations.

"The goal of Ashley's Little Angels is to help families have a better Christmas experience. We are proud supporters of this organization's efforts," said Todd Wanek, Ashley president and CEO. "I am continually impressed with the amount of effort put forth by volunteers and the number of children whose lives are touched each year."

The organization helps children in families with incomes below the federal poverty level, a group that includes about 15 million or 21% of U.S. children, according to a press release from the group.

"There is a need and a challenge to those of us who can and are willing to help," said Cathie Ferguson, one of the founding members of Ashley's Little Angels. "In some of the worst economic times, I'm overwhelmed at the generosity of the many people who are willing to reach out and lend a helping hand to those less fortunate."

School guidance counselors and school district nurses identify children they feel would benefit from the nonprofit's assistance, which starts a confidential process of selecting recipients.

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