The season of giving is in full swing, and Dreaming Creek Brewery was filled with people ready to give back Friday evening.

The brewery hosted Case Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Madison and Clark Counties, for their fourth annual CASA Giving Tree event.

CASA is a non-profit organization which advocates for abused or neglected children within their service area. The Giving Tree event includes 140 decorated envelopes, which the age and gender of a child CASA cares for on them. Any person who picks up an envelope can purchase gifts for the child that are listed on the inside.

To assist with this, a list of more information about the child are stated such as their race, clothing and shoe size. The list can also show the child's favorite colors, their holiday needs and wants.

One-by-one as people walked inside the door of Dreaming Creek, their first sight was the Christmas tree covered in envelopes. Many who arrived were already prepared to take a child's wish list -- or more than one.

According to Madison County CASA Director Victoria Benge, the tree can always be found barren at the end of the event -- which only lasts about two hours -- and sometimes before that. As each family or individual takes an envelope, or several, more will be added until they are all gone.

Even during the height of the 2020 pandemic, the CASA Giving Tree event was able to be held at the brewery and was once again successful.

"I was unsure and didn't know if people would come out last year, but it was just as successful as all of the others," Benge recalled.

Once again this year, each child's envelope placed on the tree was taken home for this season.

While CASA serves nearly 140 kids in the area, Benge states there were 433 children in Madison County, which were substantiated cases of abuse or neglect in 2020. In 2019, the number was higher at 499 abused or neglected children.

Benge said the brewery is a family-friendly space which she believes welcomes many organizations and events to be held there.

Charley Hamilton, co-owner of the brewery, said it was a good event each year that brought in a great crowd. The event has been hosted there all four years.

For those who picked up a child's envelope, all gifts can be turned into the CASA office in downtown Richmond located at 114 B. North Second Street.

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