Thousands of local families had Christmas wishes granted Wednesday as they received donations from the Salvation Army's Angel Tree program.

Distribution of gifts is taking place through Thursday at the San Antonio Event Center at Loop 410 and Marbach Road.

The Angel Tree program launched in 1979 and helped about 700 children. This year, more than 6,000 area children will benefit from the program.

Gifts are distributed to families in time for them to be wrapped and placed under the Christmas tree.

"We don't get to see the little kids open it on Christmas morning but that's OK," said Robert Galan, Director of Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club."We know it's happening, and that makes us feel good."

Sara Aguilera, 10, was with her grandmother when she picked up gifts for the family and was excited about the gifts she knew would be hers.

"I think I got new shoes," Sara said, "I"m happy."

Families have to qualify for the program months in advance. Once accepted, they provide wish lists to the Salvation Army. Good Samaritans help to fill those lists.

"This is a blessing. Times are hard right now," said Ashley Subrias, a mother of two. "The smile I'll see on my kids faces on Christmas day, I couldn't be more grateful for this."

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