Salvation Army Distributes Presents in Angel Tree Program

- The Spirit of Christmas was alive and well Thursday morning at the MPEC.

It's where hundreds of parents picked up gifts for their children who were in the Salvation Army's Angel Tree program.

In the past, the Salvation Army's Angel Tree gift distribution day has been held at local churches but coordinators say the number of families in need seems to increase each year.

So this year, they went to the MPEC because they needed more space to deal with nearly 1,000 gifts for hundreds of parents.

The line was long.

"When we got when we were opening the door as we were setting up at 7, putting tables out to get ready, the line went down the hall and turned the corner," says Capt. David Swyers, commander of the Salvation Army.

But the service was fast during the Salvation Army's Angel Tree gift distribution day at the MPEC.

Over the past two weeks generous Texomans have taken the names of children off  Salvation Army Angel Trees and fulfilled the wish lists of nearly 1,000 kids, which had the parents of those kids thankful.

"Because I'm a teen mom I don't have a lot of money."

Michaela Harbeck is 17 and says the Angel Tree program made her past holidays merry and bright.

"I got so many great things.  I got a guitar. Some people are very generous with what they give you," explains Harbeck.
Now the program is doing the same for her two month old daughter, Ariel.

"It's hard to get things for babies, especially cause things are so expensive and this program helps kids or a child of any age to get things," Harbeck says.

Getting those things here requires a few hours of hustling from volunteers but coordinators say it's worth it.

"The day is hard work and the days leading up to it is but the satisfaction of knowing when I wake up on Christmas day there are kids all over this community who are smiling because of the generosity of the community.  It's why we do  it," says Capt. Swyers.

Each parent also received some clothing for each of their children as well as canned goods and a three pound ham for Christmas dinner.

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