South Walton Fire District angel tree is up

WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Christmas will be here before you know it, and many people have already started buying gifts for friends and family.

South Walton Fire District has an Angel Tree to help make sure kids around Walton County have a good Christmas. (WJHG/WECP)

But how about those who may not be as fortunate?

"We're kind of like Santa Claus, kids really don't see Santa, and so that's how we take it," said Sammy Sanchez, South Walton Fire District.

The South Walton Fire District is helping make sure kids around Walton County have a good Christmas.

"It is important to us, it's a part of who we are, it's a part of our community, our crews know that the tree is here, our guys come and pick angels,” said Sanchez.

They partner with Caring and Sharing to get the names for the tree. Once they're all on, people select the child they plan to buy a gift for.

"Most of our families are low income or going through financial difficulties," said Amariles Rosado, Caring and Sharing of South Walton.

But they say it would not be possible without help from the community.

If you've already started your Christmas shopping, you can grab an extra gift and be a secret Santa for one of more than 300 kids in Walton County.

"It means a lot to them that they are able to get things for the kids that they actually like. They are always surprised when I ask them for gift suggestions because they think we're just going to give them anything," Rosado said.

The suggestions include what they want and what they need. And up to this point, every child has received a gift.

"We were first approached 19 years ago, and they asked us if we would host a tree and we said 'well certainly, we'd be more than happy to help our community.' I just can't imagine this tree being anywhere else," said Sanchez.

As of this Thursday 40 angels still remain!

You can pick one up at the South Walton Fire District on Highway 393 in Santa Rosa Beach. They are due back by December 5.

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