Seniors at Zellwood Station collect stockings and teddy bears for Angel Tree recipients

Distribution day will be held Tuesday, December 17

Senior citizens in Orange County stuffed stockings and dressed teddy bears for Angel Tree recipients.

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A group of senior citizens from the Zellwood Station community are getting results for the holidays.

They are showing their labor of love by stuffing hundreds of stockings and dressing more than 300 teddy bears for both children and senior recipients of the Salvation Army's Angel Tree program.

“They’re doing it specifically to make a child’s life happy. To make a mother who’s single, maybe struggling to hold her whole household together, they have that mother and that child in their hearts and in their thoughts as they do this and they pray over every one of these as they do it,” Capt. Ken Chapman said.

Lleana Messer, 78, is in charge of the project. Throughout the year she fund raises at community events to buy the bears and the stockings, which are filled with all sorts of gifts.

RELATED: News 6 partners with Salvation Army for Angel Tree Campaign

Messer even had an anonymous donor pitch in this year.

"After we get these donations, we take it all down to the store and spend it and buy the stocking stuffers and it’s busy. It’s time consuming but it’s not overwhelming," Messer said.

Messer explained each teddy bear has a handmade costume made from the heart from volunteers at Zellwood Station.

“Every stitch and every thread, every finger off of a needle went into building this will help change a child’s life and bring joy to someone on Christmas morning that might otherwise not have it,” Chapman said.

Messer said this is their way to give back and most importantly, give hope for those who need it.

“Open up your heart and do whatever you can. And you better believe on Christmas morning when you wake up and know that some child has a smile on his face because you helped, that’s all the Christmas you need,” Messer said.


About the Author:

Ezzy Castro is a multimedia journalist on News 6's morning team who has a passion for telling the stories of the people in the Central Florida community. Ezzy worked at WFOR CBS4 in South Florida and KBMT in Beaumont, Texas, where she covered Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Being from Miami, Ezzy loves Cuban coffee and croquetas!