Nearly 5,000 kids participate in annual Angel Tree program

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Volunteers worked to make Christmas a little merrier for kids in need Saturday.

The Salvation Army of Baton Rouge hosted its annual Angel Tree giveaway at Cortana Mall aimed at making sure each child has something special under their tree this holiday season.

One of the volunteers sorting through the toys was Katie Miller. She said its easy to get distracted during the busy holiday season. She brought along her kids, hoping to show them the true meaning of the season.

"It's important to know and understand that there are people that aren't as blessed as we are that have needs that we can step in and fill," she said.

The volunteers filled shopping carts with donated toys, clothes, and shoes before delivering them to waiting parents.

"They're gonna jump and climb up the walls and be very happy. I might just play with their toys myself," said Danyelle Collins, one of the Angel Tree recipients.

Major Mary Meredith with the Salvation Army of Baton Rouge, helped organize the Angel Tree drive. She said it's as important for the parents as it is for the kids.

"Maybe this is the hope that they needed, maybe this is what will help them, instead of by gifts for their kids they might be able to pay the rent this month," Meredith said.

It was also rather fulfilling for the volunteers themselves. Jenny Carmichael from Baton Rouge described it as "amazing."

"To look into their eyes and truly see their hearts, and to get to realize how big of a need we are meeting here at Christmas - it's the biggest blessing," she said.

Overall, nearly 5,000 kids in the Baton Rouge area received gifts through the Angel Tree program this year.

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