LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) -The Lawton Salvation Army provided Christmas gifts for 265 families and food boxes for 150 families Friday at their annual Angel Tree giveaway.
The Salvation Army began collecting names of needy children and families in October. Those were then placed on the Angel Tree in Lawton's Central Mall, where shoppers were able to select an angel to buy gifts for, and those presents were handed out Friday.
Joellen Lynhart-Hoffman, a mother of four, was in the hospital just two days ago due to a previous head injury that is still causing complications. She was worried about providing for her family, but says this year, the Salvation Army gave her a miracle.
"One of the gifts was what my child had been praying for, so I was so grateful. I was like, 'oh my gosh, that's the freaking gift she has been begging for the past two years,' I was excited, and I'm very happy for her because it's going to be an awesome Christmas," Lynhart-Hoffman said.
That special gift, an Easy Bake Oven, is for her youngest daughter. She has not been able to work due to her head injury, which now has her using a walker. She says this holiday season has been hard, until now.
"It was an experience for me, people were kind and helpful. It wasn't just about the gifts, they were encouraging. The community around here is amazing," Lynhart-Hoffman said.
Candice McConnell, a stay-at-home mom, is expecting and has a 10-month-old daughter. This is her first year getting help from the Salvation Army and says people shouldn't be afraid to use the resources available to them.
"It's not shameful to come and get help…it's not," McConnell said.
She says a helping hand creates a revolving door of kindness.
"Clothes that she grows out of, now I can pass on to someone else. It's an open resource," McConnell said.
Each of the bags given to the families were packed based on the family size, age and gender of the children.
Captain Claudia Roseno says the bags would not be possible if it wasn't for the community stepping up to pick their angels.
"People are being given the gift of love. People are given the gift of compassion, which in this world today, you don't think there is any compassion out there," Capt. Roseno said.
The Salvation Army will conduct their Angel Tree giveaway in Duncan at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, December 19, at 'The Well' on Main Street.