ORLANDO, Fla. – Over a few cups of coffee, donuts and laughs, seniors at the Salvation Army in Orlando explained why the Angel Tree program is important and what it means to them during this time of year.
“(The) Salvation Army is the best organization in the world. You guys have that Angel Tree and it’s fantastic! And it gave me some nice gifts and I haven’t received gifts since God knows when,” Arthur Washington said.
Just like Washington, these seniors have had a challenging past and some were even homeless before moving to the Salvation Army’s William Booth Towers.
“Being in the Salvation Army shelter, it was a good experience for me because I learned there were homeless people, but I didn’t know there were that many,” George Carrion said.
Laura Del Valle has volunteered with the Salvation Army for many years. She’s been living at the William Booth Towers for almost three decades.
Del Valle said she loves this time of year and she’s hoping to get a new microwave this Christmas.
“With Angel Tree, you meet a lot of people and it’s beautiful. I went to (Mall at) Millenia, and the gifts people give, they’re beautiful,” Del Valle said.
Jose Torres, 77, said he’s grateful every year when he gets gifts through the program.
“It feels really, really good that someone, an organization, that adores and helps those who are in need,” Torres said in Spanish.
Ronal Waites, 70, said he didn’t know about the Angel Tree program, but he’s just thankful to have a roof over his head.
“This is great. So I would tell everybody don’t give up hope. Keep trying. Keep praying,” Waites said.
A thousand seniors are participating in Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program this year.