PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Everyone loves surprises under the Christmas tree, so that’s why Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad wanted to help with this year’s Christmas Angel program. Every year Christmas Angle gives gifts to more than 50,000 Arizona children in need. But due to the pandemic, donations are understandably down a bit this year.

Early Friday morning Arizona’s Family’s Ian Schwartz -- dressed as a merry elf -- greeted people going through the toy drive drive-thru at Paradise Valley Mall. People were able to quickly and safely add their donations to a growing pile of presents. Some people even donated cash.

“We’re making a big push to try to make Christmas special for kids in Arizona,” Schwartz said.

All Christmas Angel tags adopted!

Help arrived when 3TV’s Jamie Cerreta pulled up in the Surprise Squad’s blue Toyota Highlander. It was filled with presents ranging from Legos to basketballs to Barbie dolls. In fact, the Surprise Squad brought so many toys, Cerreta had to go through the drive-thru twice.

As Schwartz put it, "Arizona's Family is helping Arizona's families."

It’s not too late for you to be a part of the Christmas Angel program. Today’s toy drive will keep going until 7 p.m., and even after that, you can still take a tag from a Christmas Angel tree found in malls across the Valley. You can also adopt an angel virtually by going to the Salvation Army’s website.


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