When it comes to gifts under the tree, we received an abundance this Angel Tree season! Our gifts came in the form of warm embraces, tears of joy, handshakes and thank yous from the thousands of families we served because of the generosity of this amazing community!
Here are a couple of examples of our many gifts, wrapped with love! A father who had registered his two children ages 10 and 11, their only Christmas wish, they each wanted to attend the Madagascar Ice at Gaylord Opryland. As someone mentioned when I shared this with them, “they wished for an experience not a tangible gift!” The amazing folks at Gaylord Opryland came through and provided 4 complimentary tickets for this family. The day arrived for this family to pick up their gifts. I had made a notation for this case to “see me” when they arrived. At first, he thought something might have been wrong with his application but I advised, I wanted to personally retrieve his gifts from our warehouse and hand him something I didn’t want lost in the bag. We walked out to his car and as we set his bag inside the torn interior of his vehicle, I handed him the 4 tickets to ICE. His eyes welled up with tears and he shook his head in disbelief. He kept repeating bless you, bless you all. He gave me the tightest hug and said to please thank everyone involved! I promised I would!
The Ochoa family, husband and wife are deaf, eldest son who is 12 is autistic, 11 yr old Sabrina is the “mother hen” as her mother affectionately calls her, is the translator and carries a lot upon her tiny shoulders. There is 8 year old “Hopi” and baby Savannah. We delivered gifts to this family along with dishes and glasses to replace the tv trays they had been washing over and over again and reusing. Their home was modest and small in size with just a couple pieces of furniture per room. Their stockings were nailed to the wall all in sequence and their glorious pink Christmas tree atop a small table was a magnificent sight. This family amidst some difficult circumstances and obstacles are a unit; a strong team and when asked what their ultimate Christmas wish would be, Joseph, the father quickly answered “for the family to stay together.”
There are so many wonderful stories to share, people whose lives were impacted because of YOU! We are grateful to everyone who supported this years Angel Tree program either by purchasing gifts for families, volunteering your precious time, supporting our efforts by spreading the word and encouraging others to participate or praying for the program itself and those we have the honor of serving.
From all of us here at The Salvation Army, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!
Below is Briggette and Joseph Ochoa sending you their personal Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in sign language.