Craig Day, News On 6
VINITA, Oklahoma -- Christmas should be a time of joy, but for many parents it's a time of worry, with a bit of sadness. Times are tough for many people right now, and they're struggling with bills, let alone Christmas.
The Angel Tree program wasn't going to happen this year in one Green Country town, until kind hearted volunteers stepped forward.
In the lobby of the Crossroads Chevrolet dealership in Vinita, volunteers are signing up people for the Angel Tree program.
"Rattlers and teething rings."
"Monster trucks or a bike."
"Barbie, princess books, dress up stuff, Strawberry Shortcake."
"Four-year-old male, and they like trucks."
Volunteers read the cards hanging from the Angel Tree at the Chevy dealership in Vinita.
"They don't have a Christmas other than this," said volunteer Hailey Willy.
They hope to make Christmas morning a good one for children, and a little less worrisome for parents and granndparents like Valerie Wiliams.
"I struggle every paycheck to get through, so it means a lot," Williams said.
But the Angel Tree program wasn't going to happen in Vinita at all this year. The local Salvation Army chapter didn't have enough help.
That saddened many.
"For Christmas to come, and not have anything just breaks your heart," said volunteer Misty Montoya.
Word spread around town. People rallied. No one wanted kids to go without on Christmas morning.
"I'm extremely proud of my community," said Angelic Peetoom, one of the organizers of the effort.
Volunteers and businesses jumped on board. Some stores are putting up trees. The local newspaper printed registration forms for free. Crossroads Chevy is home base for sign-ups, storage and distribution.
"There would have been a lot of kids in this community that would have went without," said Valerie Williams, Craig County resident. "It's just a big relief."
"You cannot, not have the Angel Tree project," Peetoom said.
So now they're signing up people, and they'll try to get gifts for every child they can. And the requests keep coming in:
"Two year old girl wanting dolls."
"They like spiders insects and cars."
They want even more people to join their cause as they hope to make a difference come Christmastime.
"Definitely the Oklahoma way," said Lt. Bobby Floyd, a volunteer.
The gifts will be distributed on December 15th.