Angel Tree is more than just presents…it is the gift of Christmas Spirit: Beatriz’s Story

Beatriz Garcia loves Nashville. She also loves being part of the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree family.

Two years ago, her mother signed her up to help with the Angel Tree registration. Being bilingual, Garcia helped parents feel more comfortable when filling out their applications for their children.

“It is very rewarding seeing the parents faces when they realize they will have Christmas gifts for their children,” Garcia said.

The program is also close to Beatriz’s heart. Her two siblings are Angel Tree recipients. Their parents work in construction so they work less in the winter months due to bad weather. While trying to keep up with bills, there is not a lot of extra income for Christmas gifts.

“The Angel Tree gave my brothers that special moment on Christmas morning. It is amazing how people have such great hearts to give Christmas gifts to kids. I wish they could see that Christmas spirit in my brothers’ hearts,” Garcia said.

Her personal experience with the program helps put others at ease, particularly those who might initially feel too embarrassed to ask for help.

“People want to help others and knowing that kids wake up on Christmas morning so happy with their gifts…. it is something that people love to do, so parents shouldn’t be embarrassed of doing it,” Garcia added.

The process is very simple. It starts with registration held two weeks in October at the Salvation Army Nashville South Corps Office on Paragon Mills Road. After filling out an application and going through an approval process, the parents leave a “need” and a “wish” list for each child.

“When you see the Angel on the tree, it is not just a drawing – it is something more – It is a child who wants to extend their wings. Every time I see one, I get emotional because when you give a child a gift, you are extending their wings. One day, when they find out what others did for them, they will pay it back,” she said.

Garcia loves the family atmosphere at the Salvation Army and says they are always there when you need them.

“I love the way the staff makes me feel like family,” she said. It is a unique organization in that there is no judgement – when you come and ask for help, they are there for you. You just don’t expect that kind of love; they make you feel special.”

Garcia now works fulltime, but still returns each year to help as much as she can. Last year, she adopted an Angel and hopes one day, after becoming an Engineer, to adopt at least five Angels.

“At the end of the day, you are putting a smile on kids’ faces, making them believe in hope and faith and showing them they are not alone,” she said. “They will forever remember that gift.”

 

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