Laurel Ridge TRiO Angel Tree program brightens holidays for dozens of families

For Immediate Release:
December 22, 2023

Primary Media Contact:
Sally Voth
Public Relations Specialist
[email protected]
Phone: 540-868-7134

Boy giving a thumbs up
The Angel Tree Project received some help from a young elf, TRiO adviser Ashley Jay's son, Kysaiah.

This year’s holiday season is brighter for 64 children thanks to the generosity of Laurel Ridge employees and a local bakery. 

The annual tradition – this is its 11th year – was once again led by TRiO adviser Ashley Jay with support from the college’s CHASE Committee. TRiO provides additional services and support to students who are first-generation college students, low income or have a documented disability.

Jay organized a bake sale in November, which raised more than $770 for the project. Middletown bakery, Blue Ridge Baking Co., donated a gift basket to be raffled for the bake sale, then donated several days’ worth of proceeds – more than $500. 

Laurel Ridge employees donated items from Amazon wish lists as well as monetary donations. Each of the families – who all included a TRiO student – received three toys per child, as well as a bag of holiday food, which included a ham or turkey.

“Each child received three gifts – we had more than 200 gifts flowing through the college this year,” said Jay. “It was amazing! This was our most successful year! Between the fundraisers and college staff purchasing off the Amazon wish list, every child got what they asked for. We have an amazing community of people here at the college! 

“During this time of year, the stress is high for many Laurel Ridge students due to finals, and the Angel Tree project has been able to ease any additional financial stress the holidays may bring. Over the years our students have expressed how much joy this program has brought to their families. I have had multiple TRIO alumni reach out and purchase off the Amazon wish list to give back. The Angel Tree project has made an impact on so many.”

Many of the families received an extra treat this year – David Gray, director of learning resources at the college, organized a book-buying drive for the Angel Tree children. More than $400 in donations were received and used to buy books at Winchester Book Gallery.


Founded in 1970, Laurel Ridge Community College is a multi-campus public institution of higher education. With three locations — Middletown, Warrenton, and Luray-Page County — the College serves eight localities in the Shenandoah Valley and northern Piedmont regions. The localities are the counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren and the city of Winchester. Laurel Ridge offers more than 75 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines, in addition to providing access to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs offered on site by a four-year institution. Laurel Ridge also serves the business community by offering workforce preparation programs for employees and employers. Laurel Ridge serves more than 9,000 unduplicated credit students and more than 11,000 individuals in professional development and business and industry courses annually.

Laurel Ridge Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate degrees. Laurel Ridge Community College also may offer credentials such as certificates and diplomas at approved degree levels. Questions about the accreditation of Laurel Ridge Community College may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (

Laurel Ridge Community College is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities. Laurel Ridge shall promote and maintain equal employment and educational opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, marital status, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions including lactation, age (except when age is a bona fide occupational qualification), status as a veteran, national origin, or other non-merit factors. Laurel Ridge also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment. Inquiries may be directed to the Associate Vice President, Human Resources, [email protected]173 Skirmisher Lane, Middletown, VA 22645, 540-868-7226.

Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.