Salvation Army distributes Angel Tree gifts

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ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - Christmas came early for some families in the Roanoke Valley. On Wednesday, the Salvation Army of Roanoke began distributing gifts from the Angel Tree program.

This year gifts were collected for 2,243 kids. Organizers say more than 680 bicycles will be handed out along with others gifts and toys.

"It's a blessing because some families are not as fortunate as others," said Anthony Muhammad. "Just to see a smile on a kids face, it brings joy to my heart."

There are some big changes in store for the Angel Tree program. Starting this year, families can be on the Angel Tree list for up to 3 years. After the first year, families must attend educational classes on topics like budgeting and parenting skills.

"Our goal is to get families to go from being on the Angel Tree to being donors," said Capt. Monica Seiler, Salvation Army of Roanoke. "We've seen some of that and that is very exciting. We want to live in a community that there is no need for a Salvation Army Angel Tree where families are doing well financially."