Parents pick up Angel Tree gifts at Salvation Army

By Morgan Thomas - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – The Salvation Army of Angelina County is making miracles happen for many families this week as they distribute gifts donated through their Angel Tree Program.

A line could be seen coming out of the door and down the length of the Salvation Army building. Parents waited their turn to pick-up, what would be their children's Christmases this year. Excitement could be felt from both the families waiting for their gifts and from volunteers happy to be apart of the gift-giving.

The gifts were picked out by folks who adopted angels from Salvation Army Trees that were located at several stores around Lufkin.  The angels listed the child's age, gender and interests so that gifts could be specifically purchased with them in mind.

Captain Laura Melendez of the Angelina County Salvation Army was thankful, "I want to thank everybody who donated toys and that was a big effort from everybody."

It was quite a sight to behold: the Salvation Army gym literally bursting with bags of donated gifts for the 1,642 angels.  Starting yesterday, the parents of the angels came by to pick the bags up.

Each family was assigned an appointment time and around 50 pick-ups were scheduled every 30 minutes through Wednesday.

The Angel Tree Program was a blessing for many Angelina County families.

"With out the Angel Tree, we may not have the gifts [my niece] wants," said Michelle Ross, who picked up gifts with family.

The Salvation Army also appreciated their volunteers who helped the gift pick-up run smoothly.  They ran bags from the gym to the front where the parents waited anxiously.

"For me, it's really satisfying and heartwarming because they come here looking for a need versus what they want.  And we're able to provide that for them," said Juan Rudea who volunteered while home from college.

Captain Laura Melendez felt really good about the Angel Tree Program's success this year.  Being able to provide Christmases for so many Angelina County children was truly the mission of the Salvation Army.

©2009 KTRE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.