TAMPA, Fla. — This week more than 700 families visited the Salvation Army to pick up toys for Christmas. It’s all part of their Angel Tree program.
Volunteers with the Salvation Army say they kind of feel like Santa Claus because they are delivering bags full of toys into the back seats and trunks of cars of families in need.
“This means a lot for my family because I really can’t afford anything at the moment,” said mother of three Destiny Ortega.“It’s been very tough, very tough for me, and I don’t have any income at the moment so without their help I would literally have nothing under the tree this year.”
None of the bags are the same, they are filled with gifts right from the children's wishlists to Santa.
“So the parents tell us here’s what my child needs, and here’s what my child wishes for, so the person who adopts that angel tag can buy specific gifts that that child wants,” said Beth Swyers with the Salvation Army.
While parents say seeing the smiles on their kid's faces when they receive these gifts is the best present they could ask for.
“Usually I’m in a pretty good situation but this year has been tough so I’m very very grateful and it’s just going to be very heartwarming and overwhelming to see,” said mother Maggie Flores.
Because of this program 2,000 children, who would have received nothing, will have a Christmas they’ll remember forever.
“It’s about helping the kids and knowing that every kid who has been on our Angel Tree is getting clothes and toys for Christmas this year,” said Swyers.
“Basically I just wanted to say thank you so much for it, they have no idea how much this means to me and my three kids, a lot, it blesses my heart so much,” said Ortega.
For more information go to salvationarmyflorida.org.