Volunteers describe 'joy' of distributing gifts from Angel Tree campaign

More than 200 people help distribute gifts during Angel Tree distribution day

By Adrianna Iwasinski - Investigative Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - Kristine Brouillard has been volunteering with the Salvation Army for nearly three decades. She was one of more than 200 people who volunteered their time Wednesday to hand out bags of gifts and bikes during the Salvation Army's Angel Tree distribution day.

"It's really nice to give back to the community, " Brouillard said.

For her, volunteering is the best way to spread Christmas cheer. Brouillard said this is a way to help families have something special under the tree -- something they may not have any other way.

"One mom told me (her) 10-year-old's bike had just been stolen out of the garage and she says she didn't know how she was going to do it," said Brouillard.

However, not everyone chooses to serve on the front lines.

Janet Tackman likes to work behind the scenes. This is her seventh year helping with the Salvation Army Angel Tree drive.

"It's a great joy for me," she said.

Tackman is known as the queen of the kids' clothing corner. While she doesn't have any children of her own, she handles each piece of kids' clothing with love - hoping it brings joy to a child in need.

The volunteers are the true unsung heroes of the Salvation Army Angel Tree campaign.

"This is what Christmas should be about," Salvation Army Capt. Ken Chapman said. "The best gift of all is we're giving of ourselves."

Bringing joy to others is what Christmas is all about for volunteer Steph Garber.

This is her first time helping with the Salvation Army's Angel Tree campaign -- but it won't be her last.

In fact, she chose to spend her birthday at the Joy Center. Instead of receiving gifts, she and her husband are helping give them away.

"That's the best way to celebrate for me," Garber said.

The couple are doing what they can to make Christmas a little brighter for families who otherwise might not have anything to put under the tree. There's no other place Garber said she would rather be for her birthday.

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