Local grandmother shares thanks for Angel Tree program

ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando grandmother Debra Crozier has her hands full. She took full custody of her five grandchildren once their mother fell on hard times and lost them to the child protection system.


However, a 21-year full-time job at Denny's was not enough to keep Crozier's head above water. She's mostly struggled the past few years to provide basic necessities.


“I just take it one day at a time. We're all in this together and I'm not gonna...” Crozier said, struggling to find the right words, “These are my grandkids. I love them." 


So when you talk about Christmas, it's even more daunting. Crozier's grandchildren -- ages 9, 8, 7 (twins) and 6 -- they all still have sweet dreams of Santa stopping by.


"When they wake up in the morning and they want to see a present under the tree, and if there's nothing there, then that's when they're...they're young. I can't say 'Oh wow, you didn't get anything for Christmas.'"


So for the second year, Crozier signed up with the Salvation Army's Angel Tree program, hoping that for just one day she and the kids don't have to worry about anything, but just enjoy the holidays like everyone else.


"They got up and one would tell the other, 'Oh look, look Grandma Santa Claus came.'" 


Crozier choked up when she talked about the people who help make this happen every year. It's donations by complete strangers that ultimately save her Christmas. She wanted to say a special thank-you.


"Thank you for making my day special, thanks for making my kids day special.”


For her, it's one less thing to worry about.


"I may not have all the answers, I may not be the perfect grandma. I don't know what perfect is, we love each other," she said. 


Wednesday is the deadline to bring gifts to the Salvation Army so they can be processed in time for Christmas.