Salvation Army: Need is up, but donations are too

Salvation Army: Need is up, but donations are too

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Thousands of families received gifts through the Salvation Army's Angel Tree Program this year.  Even those who didn't pre-register were able to take home something for their kids.

"My friend told me to come (here)," says Ualani Gouveia, who has five kids.  She drove from Waianae to the Salvation Army's downtown Honolulu location Tuesday morning, hoping to get enough gifts for each of her kids.

"They weren't going to have Christmas," says Gouveia, as she begins to cry.

She didn't know about the Angel Tree Program, and didn't fill out an application with the Salvation Army back in November, but she took the chance.

Tuesday morning, before the doors even opened, there was a line.

"This is called make up day," says Major Jonnette Mulch of the Salvation Army.  "If they miss the cut off, they can come back today, any leftover we have, we can give them."

Mulch says the need has been greater this year, with more families signing up for help and more showing up at the door.  But, she says it seems like they also got more donations this year.  Not one family had to be turned away on Christmas Eve.

"A lot of hugs, a lot of tears," says Mulch, "(They are) very thankful that the community would purchase items to give to them."

"Very helpful," says Lynette Fritz, who has two kids.  Her 5-year old daughter dives right into the garbage bag as they leave the building.  She proudly shows us a Barbie doll.   There are also towels, socks, and school supplies inside.

Gouveia shows her 8-year old daughter a Barbie car, and the girl flashes a big smile.

"My kids going be happy," she says, as she wipes tears from her eyes.

The downtown Honolulu location alone serviced more than two thousand families this year.

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