BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) - Hundreds of children in Independence County will have a very merry Christmas, courtesy of the United Way of North Central Arkansas and the generosity of neighbors helping neighbors.
The United Way Angel Tree Program began in October with a month-long application process.
During that time the Department of Human Services and the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville processed and cataloged nearly 500 applications.
Next several businesses throughout Independence County and Batesville distributed names to be adopted and collected gifts.
On Monday, Dec. 14, they delivered more than 500 bags filled with toys, clothing and bicycles to the fairgrounds.
Nearly 100 people volunteered to sort and distribute the gifts over a three-day period that culminated on Wednesday morning with families lined up to get their gifts.
Allison Phelps, executive director of United Way, commended the volunteers, businesses and residents who helped with this year's Angel Tree program.
"This day is what we have all worked so hard for," Phelps said. "Many of these families have told us that without this program they wouldn't have Christmas morning at their house."
Phelps said they owed a "huge deal of gratitude" to the businesses that served as distribution locations.
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