Angel Tree Gives Homeless Tulsa Family Christmas Joy

Tuesday, December 21st 2010, 4:54 pm
By: News On 6

Dan Bewley, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Thousands of children are having a merry Christmas this year thanks to the Salvation Army's Angel Tree.

The toys and goodies were delivered Monday and, for many, it's the only presents they'll receive.

The countdown is on to Christmas day. For Jasmine, Gavin, Jaden, and Jenna there was never a guarantee that presents would be under their tree.

"We try to get them one of the big things they want," said dad Joey Stillwell.

Joey, his wife Desiree, their two sets of twins and another elementary aged son are homeless. They're living in the Salvation Army's Center of Hope housing complex.

But they love Christmas and can't wait ‘til Saturday.

The Stillwells are one of 3500 families in the Tulsa area whose children had a wish list on the Angel Tree. The Salvation Army program gives strangers the chance to brighten Christmas for a family in need.

"It makes me happy because they got everything they wanted and they don't feel like they're so homeless," said mom Desiree Stillwell.

"It means a lot to us but it means the world to the kids," Joey said.

Some of the presents, like Pillow Pets, have already been opened and little Gavin is hoping for a firetruck or anything with flashing lights. While his twin sister Jasmine already knows what she's getting.

It's that smile that's become the present for Joey and Desiree.

"Just the looks on their faces when they seen that stuff is just irreplaceable," Joey said.

They're thrilled their children have new toys to play with but even more thankful for the generosity of a stranger who helped them celebrate Christmas.

"Thank you for making our Christmas, making our kids' Christmas...just letting us be happy," Joey said.

The Angel Tree gave toys to more than 7,000 children this year. The Salvation Army also partnered with the Toys for Tots campaign to make sure the lists were not duplicated.

12/09/2010 Related Story: Tulsa Radio Station Takes Angel Tree On The Road