Christmas returns include donated toys and clothes meant to be gifts

Parents react to donated toys and clothing returned for programs such as the Angel Tree.

Posted: Dec. 26, 2017 5:43 PM
Updated: Dec. 26, 2017 6:53 PM

TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) --  Many in the community give from the bottom of their hearts in hopes that all children will have a Christmas to remember.

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They support projects like the Angel Tree, where a child is adopted and someone donates toys and clothes for them.

Unfortunately, that's not always the case.

Michelle Moss said she was standing in line when she saw a woman returning donated gifts.

"My heart was broken for the children. There were remote control cars, there was scooters, barbie dolls, clothes," Moss said.

A stolen Christmas.

"Those gifts were donated so they would get gifts on Christmas, so they would know the excitement and joy of getting toys to play with," Moss added.

Susan Gilbert is the Social Services Director for the Salvation Army.

Gilbert says they work each year to tighten guidelines to prevent this from happening such as marking bar codes on bikes.

In fact, Gilbert is already setting dates for the 2018 mandatory budget class for Angel Tree recipients.

"You hope and you have faith in people and you hope they are taking them back to get a larger size bike, but we have to be real and there are some people who don't do that," Gilbert said.

Returning donated gifts is a thought that angers business owner Tami King.

"I don't understand why anybody would do it. It's for the children and that's who needs to get the gifts," King said.

Beautician Frankie Holcomb agrees.

"You give, you think you are helping a child," Holcomb said.

Remember, when giving a gift for any project like the angel tree, take a black sharpie and mark through the bar code, then the gift is truly intended for that recipient.

In addition to Angel Tree gifts, families also receive a food box for the holidays. 

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