Making the holidays bright one gift at a time - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Making the holidays bright one gift at a time

WAUSAU (WAOW)-- Hundreds of children will have a brighter Christmas thanks to donations to the Salvation Army's Angel Tree program. Salvation Army officials said more than 500 families received gifts this year.

"They don't even know yet so this is really going to surprise them," said Vanessa Alanis of the gifts she picked up for her three children.

Times are tough for Vanessa and her family. Her husband doesn't have a job and bills are piling up. But despite that, her kids will still have a merry Christmas-- and it's all thanks to the generous donations of community members.

"We are very grateful... this helps out with Christmas gifts and stuff," she said. Vanessa's family isn't alone. The unemployment rate in Marathon County is close to seven percent and according to the US Census Bureau, 12 percent of families in the county live in poverty.

Mother Jennifer Knoble said the Salvation Army's program is a blessing. "It actually helps us out a lot because we don't have enough money coming in with no jobs out there to get into."

Money is tight for many this holiday season, but Salvation Army officials said the people of Marathon County keep giving.

"We've been really blessed to have such a supportive community that can do that," said Captain Brian Goodwill.

And thanks to the community, hundreds of children will wake up to a special surprise Christmas morning. "Video games and some dolls. I think my daughter wanted some monster high dolls-- stuff we wouldn't be able to get them if it wasn't for this opportunity," said Alanis.

Online Reporter: Bonnie Shelton


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