The gift of giving ‘heartwarming’ for group of Santander volunteers

Santander team

They aren’t actually angels.

But don’t tell that to the families who received Angel Tree holiday gifts, distributed by members of the Santander Consumer USA (SC) marketing project management team.

The small group, part of the host of volunteers who contribute thousands of hours to Angel Tree, worked for several hours at the Salvation Army distribution center in Grand Prairie. They welcomed parents who arrived by bus, and gave out bags of presents for their children.

The gifts had been collected at the Salvation Army’s Angel Trees, a tradition since 1984, located in 10 shopping malls and more than 250 churches, organizations and companies. The gifts this year are being distributed to more than 45,000 children throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Hearts filled with joy

Women packing boxes

“I’ve volunteered with Salvation Army in the past during this time of year,” said Anna S., one of the Santander volunteers. “However, I’ve never been to the distribution center and met the families.”

“This time was even more rewarding because I was able to see the looks on the parents’ faces as they picked up gifts for their children. It filled my heart with joy to be able to tell them Merry Christmas and know that their children would have gifts under the tree,” she said.

“My heart filled with joy from the looks of parents receiving gifts for their kids,” said SC’s Kimberly W.

The Angel Tree gifts already were sorted into boxes labeled with a number when the team arrived. As the parents entered the building to pick up gifts, the SC associates checked them in and matched their numbers to the correct boxes of gifts. Then they checked to make sure each child in the family had gifts in the bag, and helped load the bags of gifts onto the buses that had brought the families to the center.

Meeting Angel Tree families

Woman moving bicycle

To the person, the volunteers seemed to get as much as they gave during their shift.

“To be able to give my time to volunteer to those in need is really heartwarming,” said Mahader G. “I enjoy the very thought of being able to meet the families and see the smiles on their faces as they receive the gifts that were donated to their children by those who care.”

“It was so rewarding to volunteer my time at the distribution center,” said SC volunteer LaKedra W. “It was a heartwarming experience to not only volunteer, but to have the opportunity to meet the families – a simple smile and Merry Christmas seemed to truly brighten their day.”

“Funny how helping others becomes infectious, you find yourself looking forward to the next opportunity to do it all over again,” said the SC associate.

Team bonding experience

Women dragging box of presents

And then there is the team bonding that occurs, according to many who volunteer throughout the year, encouraged by SC’s volunteer paid time off program that enables associates to contribute two days annually to support their favorite charitable causes – such as the Salvation Army.

“What an amazing experience to work alongside my team repackaging, organizing and delivering gifts to those in need,” said Kimberly W. “I’m so thankful that SC partners with the Salvation Army on a number of events throughout the year and also allows employees to choose a charity to donate their time.”

“I’m so proud to work for an organization that allows us to volunteer our time to those in need,” added Anna S. “It really shows how much Santander values their employees and the communities around us.”

They weren’t actually angels, but don’t tell that to the Angel Tree families. To learn more about the Salvation Army Angel Tree program visit DFW Metroplex Angel Tree online.

Woman carrying bag of gifts

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