Wednesday was the big day for the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program in Hagerstown, as families collected Christmas presents that were donated from the community.
The program is an annual tradition for the Salvation Army nationwide, as needy families can receive donated gifts for free.
In the Hagerstown area, 758 families applied for Christmas assistance, and thanks to the program, nearly 1,800 children in total will wake up Christmas morning to presents under the tree.
The gifts at the Salvation Army toy shop have been collected over the last five weeks – and on Wednesday, parents came in to get the presents on their child’s wish list.
“When they come, the toys are all in a big, red bag and ready to go to the car, to take home and put them under the tree,” said Ward Childerston, chairman of the advisory board for the Salvation Army in Hagerstown. “It’s a joy to see the folks walk out, knowing they have something to give their children.”
Leading up to toy distribution day, organizers said there was a shortage of donations. Because of that, 650 kids went “unadopted,” meaning their presents weren’t donated from the community.
But even so, members of the Salvation Army purchased the toys themselves from stores, and the Toys for Tots program also chipped in with their own donations to help spread the Christmas cheer.