The Salvation Army of Waxahachie helped hundreds this Christmas, thanks to the help of the Ellis County community. However, the collection was lower this year than previously.

More than 500 families, 1,600 children and 50 to 100 senior citizens were given gifts this Christmas by those who chose to adopt an angel on an Angel Tree, said Ann Zembala, the Salvation Army of Waxahachie volunteer coordinator. The gift drive ended on Tuesday, Dec. 24.

Last year, the Angel Tree program helped more than 650 families, according to a previous Waxahachie Daily Light article.

“We’re not sure if that’s because of the economy this year, or because of the number of other organizations that stepped in and also did toy drives,” she said.

The year was still a good one, despite the lower numbers, Zembala said.

“People in Ellis County are very generous and several companies stepped up to help with the trees,” she said.

Almost every family that was signed up to have an angel, received clothes, toys and gifts through donations, said Luis Villanueva, helper for the program and Salvation Army of Waxahachie youth pastor.

“We served as many people as we could,” he said.

The angles that weren’t adopted, Zembala said, were still given gifts with the help of other companies and services, including the Waxahachie Fire Department. Every child on an Angel Tree was given a bag of toys, she said. Wal-Mart even hosted a toy drive and kept a box inside throughout Christmas Eve to help make sure every Angel had a gift, she said.

If the Salvation Army doesn’t have enough Angels adopted in the Ellis County area, those Angels then go to a tree at a mall in Dallas, she said. If one area has more of a need than another area, things are evened out that way, she said.

“Every year is different,” she said. “The Salvation Army does try to do some planning ahead of time, by looking at how many families were served in the counties before.”