INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Tuesday marked the first of three distribution days for The Salvation Army's massive Angel Tree program.
More than 7,000 Indianapolis children are about to have their Christmas wishes come true. Every year, Salvation Army works with parents to come up with their child’s wish list. Donors then “adopt” angels and purchase those items for them.
Families must financially qualify for the Angel Tree program, which doubled in size last year after the United Way's United Christmas Service was discontinued.
Each kid will get a bag worth at least $125, filled with toys and clothing. The gifts also include basic necessities like toothbrushes, and even beds.
"If you could see the smiles on the kids faces today and the smiles on the parents faces today because they know they are going to have Christmas, you would know that all of the time, effort, and energy we put into this program was absolutely worth it," Major Bob Webster, divisional commander for the Salvation Army of Indiana said.
The Angel Tree distribution runs from 9am to 6pm on Wednesday and Thursday at 1435 W. 86th Street in a former Marsh storefront.
The Salvation Army said it expanded its assistance program to help the families left without another option.
"This is people giving to those in need. They do it out of the kindness of their heart. It really give them a better feeling about Christmas than getting presents themselves," Webster said.
In addition to the thousands of donors, The Salvation Army said it takes several hundred volunteers to help adopt out Angels, set up the distribution center, and help distribute gifts during Angel Tree. People wanting to help can visit SalvationArmyIndiana.org/AngelTree for more information.