‘This has been an unpredictable year:’ Orlando church helps fill stockings for Angel Tree program

Salvation Army sees fewer donations during COVID-19 pandemic

ORLANDO, Fla. – An Orlando church is making sure thousands of Central Florida children and seniors will have stockings for the holidays.

Elevation Church is partnering with the Salvation Army and filling 2,000 stockings for its Angel Tree program.

According to the Salvation Army’s website, officials are anticipating a much higher need for services of the Angel Tree program this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“The COVID-19 pandemic has created a new class of people needing our help. In addition, many of our usual corporate sponsors cannot adopt angels this year because of a downturned economy,” the website said.

Pastor Petr Buzyan and Elevation Church stepped in to get results.

“This has been an unpredictable year. No one is ready, you’re not preparing for it,” Buzyan said.

For Buzyan, helping the Salvation Army is personal.

“I remember when I was 8 years old and we had just moved from Ukraine, one Christmas my family wasn’t going to receive Christmas gifts and guess who came through, the Salvation Army,” he said.

The church is helping with the Salvation Army’s mission to “Rescue Christmas.”

Volunteers, like Sumer Allen, spent Saturday morning at Freedom High School stuffing 1,000 stockings for children, filling them with toys and trinkets. They’re also planning to stuff 1,000 stockings for seniors.

“We’re extremely grateful to be able to partner with them and to just be able to help the community,” Allen said.

The church spent $10,000 to make sure these angels have gifts for the holidays.

Buzyan adds no matter how hard the year is, everyone deserves a little cheer.

“It was one of those things when I heard that it was just like not on our watch. We’ve got to come out, we’ve got to serve, we got to partner with or we’ve got to do something,” he said.

Click or tap here for more information about the Angel Tree program and to learn how you can donate.

About the Author:

Amanda Castro, a proud UCF alum, joined the News 6 team in November 2015 and was promoted to weekend morning anchor in April 2016. Go Knights!