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Over 7,500 Hampton Roads children will receive Christmas gifts, thanks to Salvation Army

For weeks, Salvation Army volunteers packed bags with toys and clothing for families in need.

NORFOLK, Va. — When Lauren Boykins thinks of Christmas, she thinks about the joy it brings to her kids.

"Being able to open gifts, the fun parts of doing Christmas carols," she said. We decorate together, the family part."

Boykins, a single mother of three, has been a part of the Angel Tree program over the years. Through the help of the Salvation Army, her children look forward to the many gifts under the tree.

"They love it," Boykins said. "It hasn't been a year that they've said, 'No. Mom, this is horrible.'" They always make it possible for us to do more. It's been a blessing."

Salvation Army Hampton Roads Area Command is blessing more than 7,500 children this year making sure no child is without a gift on Christmas.

The organization cut the ribbon on Monday, the first distribution day at the Christmas Depot inside Military Circle Mall. Thousands of bags are ready to go to thousands of Norfolk homes.

"Each bag that you see represents a family and each bag represents a child," said Salvation Army Hampton Roads Area Commander Major Donald Dohmann. "Filled in those bags are clothing and toys."

Families also received a stocking with hygiene products. All items were donated by different organizations and community members. 

For weeks, volunteers have been packing these gifts. This morning, many families lined up outside the mall to pick them up.

"They will be able to pull out of this parking lot with a great sense of relief that their child or children will have new toys, clothing and a stocking to open on Christmas morning," Dohmann said.

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