Waking up before the sun rises, running to the Christmas tree to discover all of the presents from Santa is a magical ritual for most children. But for needy children this ritual is something they can only dream about.

For the past 20 years, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District employees have brought a little Christmas spirit and made dreams come true for almost 3,000 children in the greater Baltimore area.

Sue Jones, a Baltimore District realty specialist for the National Relocation Program Office, introduced the Salvation Army's Angel Tree program to the District in 1993 and has been leading the effort ever since.

"I saw the program at my hair salon and wanted to be a part of it," Jones said. "It breaks my heart that some kids will wake up with nothing. I hate the idea that some kids will be disappointed and lose the magic at Christmas."

Jones said that everyone at the District has always been supportive, and people start asking her about the Angel Tree program in September.

"I thought this would be a bad year because of furloughs and the shutdown, so I asked for less angels and stockings," she said. "But for the first time I had to go back and ask for more."

Jones relies on the help of division points of contact throughout the District to pass out the angels and stockings to interested employees. This year employees provided gifts for 130 angels and 15 stockings.

"This was the first year Real Estate ran out of angels and stockings in two days. Some of the divisions ran out in four days," Jones said.

Dayo Odusanya, a district administrative assistant, chose to help a 12-year-old girl through the Angel Tree program.

"Anytime I can give back to my community not only makes me feel good, it also helps a child with whatever they may be going through," Odusanya said.

The Salvation Army of Central Maryland is thankful for the District's two decades of unwavering support.

"We always come to the District with an empty truck," said Connie Wise, program director for the Salvation Army of Central Maryland.

For more information on the Salvation Army of Central Maryland, visit their website at: salvationarmymwv.org/centralmaryland/

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District employees provided gifts for 130 angels and 15 stockings as part of the Salvation Army's Angel Tree program.