Early Christmas for over 1,000 metro families

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Christmas came a little early for about 1,300 metro families.

The culmination of the Salvation Army Angel Trees took place at Crossroads Mall as hundreds of families picked up gifts for their kids.

The old JC Penney store was transformed into a toy store with rows upon rows of gifts and more than 800 bicycles.

Families submitted their applications for the program back in September and qualified on several criteria, including level of income.

Wednesday, they were able to pick up the generous donations.

"I am a single mother trying to make ends meet," Patrice Staley said, as she came to pick up presents for her two sons.

"It's going to be really exciting because it's like Christmas for me because I actually get to see their faces and wrap them up for them," she said.

The presents for her boys included a football, other sports items, some jeans and a V-Tech notebook her youngest asked Santa to bring.

"My youngest is going to be excited because he actually wanted that for Christmas," Staley said.

Beatrice Williams came to collect presents for her two granddaughters.

"I'm raising two granddaughters, one 12 and one 9," she said.

Because of the Salvation Army Angel program, Williams' 9-year-old granddaughter will wake up Christmas morning to a bike.

"Yes, she gonna love that!" Williams said. 

Williams said she had previously told her granddaughters they weren't going to get anything for Christmas.

"I'm just on a fixed income," she said.

Those volunteering at the event were just as excited as the families picking up gifts.

"We're the elves, we're the elves and I love it," Michele Bufford said.

Salvation Army officials said they purposely leave all the gifts unwrapped.

"We don't want it to be from the Salvation Army, we want the dignity and joy that the parent can have in giving those gifts to their kids," Major Francina Proctor said.

In addition to the gifts, Feed the Children provided the families with boxes of food and turkeys.

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