After a Greenwood mother’s hours were recently cut at work, finding a way to get Christmas presents for her four kids was a concern.
When she got a letter from her children’s school telling her about the Christmas Angels program, she was incredibly appreciative of the opportunity, she said.
“I’m more than grateful,” April Honeycutt said.
Inside Grace United Methodist Church in Franklin on Tuesday morning, dozens of parents lined up inside a hallway, waiting for their turn to select presents for their children. Parents were able to select three to five gifts for each child, depending on the child’s age, as well as clothing, a stuffed animal, book, movie and board game. Volunteers guided each family around a room at the church, with stands full of popular toys such as Lego bricks, Barbie dolls and bicycles.
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This year, 161 families were invited to pick out presents for their kids as part of the Christmas Angels program run each December by the United Way of Johnson County to provide gifts for families in need. Additional families are sponsored by businesses and community members, who go out and purchase gifts directly for them.
Overall, the United Way of Johnson County plans to provide gifts for about 1,700 children from more 600 families this Christmas.
With four children, ranging from a 6-year-old daughter to her 14-year-old son, Honeycutt was happy with what she was able to select for them. She picked out Legos and drones for her sons and was able to get a handful of Barbie dolls for her daughter.
A single mother from Edinburgh with three children at home said the annual event meant that she wouldn’t have to worry about her children going without gifts this Christmas. After recently losing her job, she wasn’t sure how she was going to make sure they had presents, she said.
Lisa Roberts found about about Christmas Angels through a friend, and this is the second year she’s received assistance through the program, she said.
“It means a lot,” she said. “I’m so happy.”
For a Whiteland couple, being able to get presents through Christmas Angels was a weight lifted off their shoulders, they said.
Brittany Smith and Steven Root had been struggling financially the past year and were wondering what they were going to do to make Christmas special for their three children, they said.
For their youngest, a 1-year-old boy, they got a miniature, battery-powered four-wheeler. Their 10-year-old son, who is a burgeoning artist, got an art set with a variety of supplies, and they got a scooter for their 4-year-old daughter.
“It’s a blessing,” Smith said. ” I can’t say how much we appreciate it.”
Here is a look at how many people the Christmas Angels program has assisted.
Families invited to shop at the store
Children receiving gifts
Families sponsored by Christmas Angels
Christmas Angel sponsors
Total children helped
SOURCE: United Way of Johnson County