Salvation Army Angel Tree Distribution Day

KLTV 7's push to help the Salvation Army's Angel Tree Program paid off as thousands of East Texans received their gifts Friday.  Our very own Chief Meteorologist Mark Scirto played a big role as he transformed into Santa Scirto, but it's you the community who truly deserves all the credit.

It's the morning they've been waiting for.  The day hundreds of Salvation Army volunteers come together to give out this year's Angel Tree gifts, and the day parents like Amanda Gonzalez know their children will have a Merry Christmas.

"It means a lot to me," said Gonzalez.  "It's a lot of help, you know. I don't have any money to be buying my kids any gifts.  I'm having financial problems right now, and it's helping me out, and my kids are going to be really happy with this."  It's smiles like Gonzalez's, volunteers say bring them out to the Salvation Army every year.  From directing traffic, to handing out gifts, to tackling the mountain of boxes on the inside, distribution day could not happen without them.

"We are helping somebody else besides ourselves," said Salvation Army volunteer Gaylon Mason.  "Makes me feel good."  The Salvation Army says despite the poor economy more than 5,000 angels were adopted this year.  Almost 500 bikes were also donated, which is down from around 700 last year, but overall the Salvation Army says the community should be proud of themselves.

"We just want to say Merry Christmas and thank you so much for what you have done, and once again thanks again from literally the thousands we say thank you," said Salvation Army Captain Zach Bell.

This year the Salvation Army says every angel in Tyler was adopted.  The distribution continues Saturday until noon.

Molly Reuter, Reporting.