FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - The Florence Salvation Army kicked off its annual Angel Tree at its store on West Palmetto Street Friday evening.
Each year, the the Angel Tree program helps hundreds of families give their children the Christmas they look forward to all year long.
One of those families is 30-year-old Stephanie Hazelton's.
Since she was 22, Hazelton has cared for her sister's four kids - two girls and two boys - to keep them from going into foster care. She said while she's happy to take on the role, it hasn't been easy.
"There are times when it's hard because sometimes raising children is not so easy to do, especially when you're a one-parent household," Hazelton said. "So there are sometimes when things get a little bit hard, a little rough, but it's OK because I just wanted to make sure that they were OK."
Hazelton is a teaching assistant at Palmetto Youth Academy, where three of the four children attend.
She found out about the Angel Tree program last year and decided to apply for it to relieve some of the financial burden.
"They go to a uniform school, they have all kinds of stuff that they need all year long, so I make sure they have all that stuff, but at Christmas sometimes you need a little extra help," Hazelton said. "So I just want to make sure they have a good Christmas."
The older kids put tablets on their wish list and the younger one loves baby dolls. Hazelton said she's grateful that this year their wishes will come true
"I'm appreciative that it's here and I hope that everybody who can find out about the program can sign up and get help too," she said.
There are 800 angels to choose from this year. You can help many other families like Hazelton's. The Angel Trees will be at two locations in Florence, one at Magnolia Mall and the other at the Salvation Army store on Hoffmeyer.