NEW ORLEANS -- The line in front of the Salvation Army headquarters stretched around the corner. Inside the chapel were members of 1,500 families who can't afford Christmas celebrations for their children this year.
"I have three kids, and she's real happy," said Quiana Jordan as she held a photo of one daughter. "She's getting something for Christmas, because I wouldn't be able to do for them, so they are really excited. It's amazing, a blessing."
The Salvation Army helped 4000 children. Each will receive at least two presents, thanks to cash donations and folks who bought presents for families that registered for help.
"It's what makes it worthwhile, when you see that face light up or they cry happy tears for what they get. It makes it worthwhile, plus you see all these volunteers who are so involved with it too," said Salvation Army New Orleans Commander Major W.D. Owens.
"The best Christmas ever for all the kids that will have a blessed Christmas that they ain't never had before," said parent Shabrielle Mitchell.
The familiar bell ringers with their Christmas kettles are absolutely essential to the success of this Christmas program. But they'll continue collecting donations until Dec. 24 because this year, so far, they haven't even come close to the goal that they set.
"We're probably about $85,000 from that goal, and the reason that we need is because we pre-buy stuff for next year with what we're able to make this year, and if we don't meet our goal, it just means that there will be that much less that we'll be able to purchase for next year's children," said Major Owens.
Shabrielle Mitchell thought about the joy her son will feel.
"He's going to be so excited for his gifts from Santa," she said.