River Region families receive Angel Tree donations

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Christmas will be very merry for more than 1,000 families in need this year. Tuesday, the Salvation Army handed out the toys and other items donated through their Angel Tree Program.

For moms like Gwendolyn Calhoun, it's an answered prayer.  She says the program was her only chance at providing Christmas presents for her children.

"God is so good. They help me every year," Calhoun said.  "You know, it's hard times right now, especially with 4 children.  And I just thank God for the help, for all his blessings."

We followed her through the warehouse where the toys were kept, as volunteers gave her toys, clothing, and food that had been donated for her family. What brought her the most excitement-- a bike for her little boy.

"Because my boy really wanted it," she said.  "He prayed for it, and, thank you Jesus, he got it."

The Salvation Army's Angel Tree Program helped more than 1,000 thousand families this year. Come Christmas morning, that means about 2,500 children will have presents under the tree and food on the table.

Cynthia Pickett volunteered at distribution day.  She says she couldn't think of a better way to spend part of her Christmas vacation.

"They're so appreciative. Some of the items they get that are not on their list, they'll say 'oh, don't worry about this. This is just more than we could ever ask for.'  And that truly to me, it just makes you feel good about just giving and helping people that are in need," Pickett said.  "I thought that was a good opportunity to display what Christmas was all about-- giving some of my time to help somebody and put a smile on people's faces."

And folks like Gwendolyn Calhoun couldn't be more grateful, as she looks forward to the bright smiles of her children on Christmas morning.

The families who received those gifts were selected through an application process. The Salvation Army has been sponsoring the Angel Tree Program since 1979.

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