Elizabeth Cates appeared emotional as she spoke about Christmas with her three girls.
She said she always has provided for them but got some help this year.
Her oldest daughter, who enjoys art, received drawing supplies; her middle daughter received boots; and her youngest received a baby doll.
“It's all good. It's very exciting …” she said shortly after her visit with them. “Everything they got, they loved it all.”
Ms. Cates said it also is a blessing to have someone care for people who can't provide for their children this time of year.
“People should know it's OK to ask for help. Don't be ashamed of it. It's OK,” she said.
She added, “This is helping me to get on my feet and be a better person and parent for my kids.”
Ms. Cates' family was one of many who received gifts from the Angel Tree. Cars on Friday came in and out of The Salvation Army facility downtown, where volunteers distributed boxes of toys, food and bikes for those who requested it.
Salvation Army community and corporate relations coordinator Chantel Millin said it was an awesome day, and there were likely at least 50 volunteers helping out plus people from ReConnect to help put things in cars.
One of those volunteers was Gaylon Mason, who has been helping distribute toys with the Angel Tree for 15 or 16 years.
“You get a good feeling helping someone else (and) giving back to the community. Basically, Tyler's a great community for that,” he said.
Mason also noted that a lot of people help donate the toys so that children have a good Christmas.
“It makes me feel good that we're helping these children. Some of those children may not have any toys besides what they get here. It's always amazing how many needy families there are …” he said.
“I think the area and the community is very fortunate to have an organization like The Salvation Army … that helps these people. … I feel the community is very giving.”
This year, there were 3,000 angels.
Ms. Millin said a lot more people turned out to adopt angels, and there were about 70 left when the tree ended. The Salvation Army shops for the remaining angels so the children still get what they ask for, she said.
“Everyone there is so excited and humbled by the experience and (to) be able to touch a life. A lot of kids are watching as their toys are being put into their cars. It's great to see kids' expressions and gratitude from parents. It's that feeling that you never get tired of,” she said.
“We just thank the community for everything they did through the angel tree, and all the angels they adopted. Tyler is a great community. … We are definitely appreciative of Tyler and Smith County for what they've done to help touch the lives of a lot of families.”