Unsung Hero: Elaina Scerena


By Ashley Smith
By Josue

MARION -- Children and adults alike are counting the days until Christmas.  Kids will wake up very early Wednesday to see what Santa left under their tree. Some local children will open gifts donated through the Salvation Army Angel Tree Program.

"It makes you feel good to see that people are willing to give back because that's what Christmas is all about, is helping those in your community and giving back," said Elaina Scerena.

Elaina and her husband collect Build-A-Bear stuffed animals all year to give away to children at

"My husband and I work on this everyday, he helps me with everything. This year, I had 87 for the Angel Tree," said Elaina.

Elaina also buys clothes for the bears and matches the outfits with the kids' interests.

"Those Build-A-Bears help tremendously," explains Salvation Army caseworker Amanda Harshman. "Sometimes we'll throw in a Build-A-Bear with all of the kids' toys that we can. Every kid loves a Build-A-Bear no matter what the age!"

This is Elaina's fifth year helping hand out the gift bags and her seventh year collecting the bears.

"It's a very good feeling. Sometimes when I see the bags here I wonder, 'Oh did they get one?'"

It's because of people like Elaina that 650 children in Williamson and Johnson County will benefit from this program.

"We want them to believe and have that magic at Christmastime," said Amanda.

Marion Regional
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