Christmas was coming, and little Jeff was crying.

When a Salvation Army worker asked what was wrong, he said, “I’m just hoping I make Santa’s nice list this year. Every year I hope, but I must always be on the naughty list, because Santa never comes.”

How heartbreaking, the worker thought.

Jeff’s problem, of course, wasn’t naughtiness at all. His problem was poverty. His mom simply couldn’t afford to buy presents for her kids.

The worker asked Jeff if his family had a Christmas tree. When he said no, she was determined to get one for his family. The very next morning, a man arrived at The Salvation Army with six trees to donate. The Army team grabbed one tree and some toys to deliver to Jeff’s home. And they brought Jeff’s mom back to their office to shop for toys for her kids.

One of the kids was hoping for a remote controlled helicopter, which was easily found. But another wanted a cotton candy maker — not a typical item in a Salvation Army toy storage area! But after hours of searching, they found one hidden in a back corner.

When the kids opened their presents on Christmas morning — next to their new, fully decorated tree — they were overcome with joy. And for Jeff, perhaps for the first time, a taste of the gift of grace, absolutely free.

Thank you for sharing that kind of joy with our neighbors in need!

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