Christmas arrives early for Salvation Army's angels - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Christmas arrives early for Salvation Army's angels

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Christmas arrived early for more than 1,000 local children in need.

Volunteers were busy at Salvation Army's Angel Tree distribution in Cleveland on Thursday. It's one day that's even better than Christmas morning.

"This is my favorite day," said Joel Rogers, Salvation Army. "You get to see Christmas happen hundreds of times."

According to Rogers, there was a record-breaking number of angels this year. Several hundred more children were in need this year than in years past.

Volunteers delivered gifts for over 1,000 children on this year's Angel Tree.

"You see the parents reactions to the gifts people have bought for their kids," he described. "The fact that they can go home and wrap those gifts, and feel normal. Being able to have some pride, and put something under the tree ahead of Christmas."

Caleb Douglas was one of 100 volunteers from Tennessee Christian Preparatory School in Cleveland.

"We love being the hands and feet of Christ," he said. "It's one thing we're called to do."

The high school and middle school students helped deliver presents and prayed with those in need.

Douglas said his conversation with one mom was a gift in itself.

"I was praying with her, and she just started crying and breaking down. It was just God working through her," said Douglas. "It just warmed me up and put a smile on my face for the rest of the day."

"It puts perspective that not everybody is as lucky as you are," added 8th grader Mason Taylor, who is volunteering for the third year in a row.

"It makes me feel happy because I can help kids that are my age and younger, that wouldn't have Christmas, to have Christmas," he said.

"We have the most generous community," said Rogers. "I know other people say that about their communities, but the Cleveland community is the absolute best."

This year, more than 4,500 children and seniors were adopted from Angel Trees in the Greater Chattanooga area.

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