Volunteers make their mark with their dedication and commitment behind the scenes of The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree

VIRGINIA BEACH — Marion Hoffman and Beverly Almond are two volunteers who are the army behind the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program.

“We wouldn’t be able to do what we do it we didn’t have our volunteers,” said Kelly Straub, spokeswoman for the The Salvation Army. “It’s just an absolute feat that they undertake.”

Volunteers collect all of the Angel Tree gifts that people buy at area stores. Then, they label boxes, sort, organize and wrap those gifts and make sure they get to the correct families. They manage and orchestrate rows and rows of boxes that fill half of the Christmas Depot warehouse on Virginia Beach Boulevard — enough for 5,000 families and many of those families have more than one child.

That’s a lot of work behind the scenes that the public doesn’t see.

“It’s grueling but we love it,” Beverly said.

For about the last month, they’ve worked almost everyday, all day at the Christmas Depot warehouse. Beverly has been doing this for the last five Christmas seasons.

“I think for all of us volunteers we keep coming back because we love working together,” she said. “We love doing this job for the community, it’s a lot of fun.”

Marion does it as a way to give back.

“The Salvation Army gave us our Christmas,” she said. “It was part of our life when I was growing up. My mother had nine children and that’s who helped us out at Christmas time was The Salvation Army. Back then, which was the late 40s, early 50s, we didn’t get toys and stuff like that it was homemade stuff, hats and gloves. We grew up and did well in life, I give it back.”

The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree has been giving back to Hampton Roads for 30 years.

“We wouldn’t be able to do what we do if we didn’t have our volunteers,” Kelly said. “They truly are the army behind the Army.”