The Salvation Army and Waxahachie Fire Department handed out Christmas presents and necessities to local families in need Saturday, Dec. 15 in Northgate Plaza.

“We’re helping the community with new toys and new clothes for their children. We’re so excited we’re able to help about 800 families this year,” said Lt. Missy Romack with the Salvation Army Angel Tree. “We’re helping about 290 seniors and in all we’ll provide Christmas presents for about 3,500 individual kids.”

Romack said the Salvation Army steps in to help families in need by not only providing Christmas presents, but also give families warm clothes and prayers to help them through tough times.

“The Salvation Army does this every year, because we know that there is a need in the community,” she said. “Some folks can barely make ends meet, so we’re here to help them with Christmas gifts for their children.”

She said about 485 families will receive new toys and clothes through the Angel Tree program while the Waxahachie Fire Department provides toys for about 200 families that missed the Angel Tree deadline. WFD also handed out bicycles to some of the families, which were donated by Walmart in Waxahachie.

“What we do is partner with them. They do the Angel Tree and after the deadline, that’s when the fire department takes care of that family,” WFD Pump Engineer Brent Fuller. “Our role is to also help them with distribution. We get all the guys up here to help pass out all the stuff and keep it running real smooth. It’s going pretty good so far this year.”

Fuller said having the ability to affect entire families is the foremost reason he and his co-workers participate in the project.

For Romack the Angel Tree program is special because it was what led her to become an officer with the Salvation Army.

“When I was a little girl, my dad’s back went out,” Romack said. “If it wasn’t for the Angel Tree program we wouldn’t have had a Christmas that year.”

Romack said one of her mother’s friends suggested the Angel Tree program and encouraged her to apply for assistance. Her mom took her friend’s advice and her family was able to have a great Christmas. Because of her family’s experience, Romack’s eyes were opened to the role of the Salvation Army and made her to want to be a part of the organization.

Through the Angel Tree program, every year citizens and businesses donate new unwrapped toys and clothing for families, children and seniors in need during the Christmas season.

The fire department also conducts its own toy drive, Toys for Kids, to help those families that are not adopted or miss the Angel Tree deadline.

Both organizations wanted to thank all of the individuals, businesses and organizations that made this year’s Angel Tree program a success and helped make Christmas merry for 800 families.

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