‘People still care’: Angel Tree distribution warming hearts of families in need

Thanks to the generosity of so many NBC12 viewers, many families struggling this holiday season were blown away by Angel Tree gifts.
Published: Dec. 14, 2022 at 6:04 PM EST
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CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - It’s that time of year again! Thanks to the generosity of so many NBC12 viewers, many families struggling this holiday season were blown away on Wednesday.

Through the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program, thousands of donated gifts are going to children in need.

On Wednesday, over 800 parents picked up the presents. Some of them were moved to tears.

“The tears that well up in their eyes ... I mean, if it doesn’t touch you, I don’t know what else would because these are truly people who are in need,” Captain Bethany Burns with the Salvation Army said.

Thousands of bags lined the floor of Stony Point Fashion Park, full of toys to bless more than 1,600 Angels and 500 Silver Bells.

“We just want to make a family smile on Christmas morning,” Burns said. “We don’t want a child to wake up without anything under their tree for Christmas.”

Hardworking volunteers like Larry Pope of WHOA Behavioral Health loaded up carts with gifts, clothes, and other necessities.

“It’s fun, it’s great to see smiles on people’s faces, it’s perfect for the holiday, you meet new people,” Pope said.

This is the first year WHOA Behavioral Health got involved. Pope says they now want to make it a tradition.

“It’s overwhelming excitement, people are just hugging you, saying thank you, happy holidays and that’s what the holidays are about,” Pope said. “It’s being able to give back and showing that the community cares for one another.”

Richmond Window Corps also lent a hand.

“It’s a lot of gratitude, I think people are just kind of overwhelmed with the amount of things coming their way,” Andrew Phillips of Richmond Window Corps said.

Camilah Brookshire is one of those parents that is overcome with gratitude. This season has been tough for her family.

“Hardship and COVID-19 kind of struck me, it was hard to get back to work but I’m finally there,” she said. “I got some help with Christmas for my 9-year-old.”

She says, thanks to Angel Tree, she can’t wait to see the look on her son’s face on Christmas morning.

“It was awesome, it makes me feel like there’s still hope out there and people still care,” Brookshire said.

Angel Tree distribution is not over yet. Over 800 families are set to come in on Thursday to get their gifts.