Valley sisters hoping to be chosen from Christmas Angel trees

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by Sybil Hoffman

azfamily.com

Posted on November 28, 2011 at 1:12 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 28 at 1:21 PM

PHOENIX -- A single mother and her five daughters must snuggle with each other as they sleep on the floor every night. They girls' names will be among the thousands listed on Christmas Angel tags this year.
 
The girls who range in age from 2 to 11 years old all enjoy singing and playing tag with each other. The Ortiz girls are just like other kids their age. All of them have big bright eyes and contagious smiles. The only difference is they're living in poverty.

Yvette Ortiz gave us a tour of her tiny apartment.

"Four of us eat first and then the other two come in and sit down and eat," she explained.

They don't have much furniture. The kids' clothes are all stored in garbage bags.

"These are pants; these are jackets; these are jackets and sweaters," Ortiz explained, pointing to various bags. "They get their jackets from the lost and found so if the kids don't get them from the school, they get them from in here."

A recent bed-bug infestation meant Ortiz had to throw away their mattresses. That means everyone sleeps on the floor. Only a blanket separates them from the carpet.

"This is where me and the three little ones sleep and this is where the two big ones sleep," Ortiz said, showing us side-by-side blankets on the floor and a large stuffed bear. "We had to tear it for a pillow. This is the teddy bear we use under all these, for a pillow."

When asked what they want for Christmas, toys weren't at the top of the girls' wish lists.

"For Christmas, I want clothes and some boots," Tanya, 11, said.

Her 9-year-old sister, Nayeli, echoed the request.

"What I want for Christmas is clothes and shoes," she said.

Ortiz said they only need the basics.

"We need clothes, a bed, what is it, stuff for the restroom," she explained quietly.

"This is a real eye opener it really makes it more meaningful when we see a family that's really in need," said Maj. Harry Lacey with the Salvation Army.

The names of all five Ortiz girls will be on Christmas Angel tags this year.

Ortiz hopes her children will be chosen from the Christmas Angel Trees this year and that she can one day show her appreciation.

"I would like to meet them or at least tell them thank you and bake them a cake or something, I love baking cake," she said with a laugh.

Just look for the Christmas Trees as these participating Malls through Dec. 23:

Arizona Mills, Food Court
Arrowhead Towne Center, Sears Court, Lower Level
Camelback Colonnade, Near Last Chance, Upper Level
Chandler Fashion Center, Sears Court, Lower Level
Desert Sky Mall, Center Court
Fiesta Mall, Macy’s Court, Lower Level
Metrocenter, Macy’s Court, Upper Level
Paradise Valley Mall, Center Court
Prescott Gateway Mall, Barnes & Noble
Promenade at Casa Grande, Village near Harkins Theater
SanTan Village, Santa’s Lane, next to Harkins Theatres
Scottsdale Fashion Square, Macy’s, Lower Level
Superstition Springs, Macy’s Court, Lower Level
Desert Ridge Marketplace, Dave & Buster’s
Tempe Marketplace, Dave & Buster’s

Select an angel of your choice, register with one of our volunteers and then go shopping. Return your gifts by the date listed on the tag so they can be delivered to the child on time. You'll receive a receipt when you return the gifts.

With your help, the Christmas Angel program will deliver gifts to some 50,000 Arizona children.

For more information on the Christmas Angel program, or other ways you can help the Salvation Army, please check their website or call 602-267-4100.

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