KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Christmas came a few days early for hundreds of families on Thursday. The Salvation Army gave out several gifts to children and senior citizens in the community.
Stacey Archuleta tried her best to hide Christmas gifts from her son until next week, but she says she couldn’t be more happy with the Angel Tree program with the Salvation Army.
“Families like us that don’t make a lot of money, it’s hard when they’re getting older and they want everything,” said Archuleta.
On Friday, 850 families received gifts. The associate area commander says that’s 1,800 children and senior citizens total.
“I got my daughter a bike and that was just something she has been wanted forever because she had one before, but it got stolen. So that will help her out because she’s always wanting to be outside,” said Archuleta. “My son, he’s easy because he’s only five years old so just getting trucks and stuff like that. And I got everything I wanted and they got everything they wanted and it’s going to make them so happy.”
The Salvation Army has been preparing for a month now with help from several organizations and corporations that have adopted families and shopped for them.
“We found that for these children that this means hope. These children understand that their families are in a difficult time. They don’t get to go shopping or get gifts like other families do,” said Christine Smith, area commander. “When they go back to school they get to say, ‘This is what I got for Christmas,’ and it’s exciting for them.”
The Angel Tree distribution will take place until 6 p.m. Thursday night at the former Kroger on Clinton Highway.