December 19, 2006
Santa made an early stop in Charlottesville Tuesday. He appeared in the form of dozens of Salvation Army volunteers handing out Angel Tree gifts and WAHU stockings.
The Salvation Army is bringing joy to 700 needy families throughout Charlottesville this holiday season.
Ann Marie De Jesus Rivera's children are just five of 1100 hundred kids who will find what they asked for under the tree this year.
“The four and five year-olds want Brats’ and stuff like that, but my six year old all she wanted was a special day with me; that's all she wants and I’m going to give that to her,” said De Jesus Rivera.
And, what Rivera isn't able give her family the Salvation Army will try to provide.
Volunteers have been preparing for the annual holiday drive since October. Making a list of needy families; checking it twice and stuffing the Salvation Army shelves with everything nice.
Tuesday volunteers began distributing the gifts.
“There are a lot of people in Charlottesville who really can't afford Christmas for their children,” said Salvation Army Sgt. Major Libby Sprouse.
Over 500,000 gifts from bikes to books were donated by local businesses and individuals.
“[The] Charlottesville public has been so generous,” said Salvation Army Major Bruce Smith.
And, that generosity is not overlooked. Sprouse said many families send thank you cards.
“We don't require that because when we see them and see their faces that's thank you for us,” said Sprouse.
For Rivera it’s seeing her children's faces.
“Just seeing their face every Christmas morning when they open their gifts up. That smile just means everything and even if you don't have much because for them even a little bit is more than nothing,” said De Jesus Rivera.
The Salvation Army has been helping needy families in Charlottesville since 1912.