SCRANTON -- Lackawanna County's Adopt An Angel program has become a holiday tradition for many families and businesses that "adopt" a foster child each Christmas.
Newswatch 16 was there when volunteers started distributing more than 500 gifts.
Each of the Christmas presents is marked with a number but will eventually go to a name: a child in the foster care system in Lackawanna County.
"I am a foster parent so I see first-hand what it means to these children. I have had children in my house who have never had a Christmas tree, who have never woken up on Christmas morning with the amount of gifts that they can receive through the Adopt An Angel program," Lea Dougherty said.
Adopt An Angel is put together by the staff of Lackawanna County Youth and Family Services. People, families, or companies can choose a foster child and shop from his or her Christmas list.
Through the Adopt An Angel program, 548 children will receive gifts this Christmas, and from now until then, all those gifts will come in and out of a storefront at the Mall at Steamtown.
Pharmacy owner Tom DePietro of Dunmore has adopted an angel for several years. This year he got his employees involved.
"We got a family of six children and we were able to gather the gifts as a team and donate them as a team. It's very rewarding this time of year to give back to our community."
"It's good, when someone asks for exactly what they want. You can give a kid something that makes them so excited. It's just nice to make someone's Christmas so much better," said Dana Naturale of DePietro's Pharmacy.
DePietro and his staff plan to make Adopt An Angel a tradition. It's the same for most of the people who drop off presents.
"We have families that come in with their kids and say this is what we're going to do. They will go shopping with their teenage children (to show) what it's like to give to others who may not have as much as they may have at Christmastime," Dougherty said.
The toys will be distributed between now and Christmas Eve.