Kay Cooney encouraged her 6-year-old daughter to take a tagged ornament from the Cub Scouts' Christmas tree at Carrolltown Center.
The little girl selected a reindeer made of sticks and asked her mother to read the tag, which contained a needy child's wish list.
"She wants a Barbie and that is what I am going to get her," Joy Cooney told her mother.
Many children will have gifts this holiday season thanks to Cub Scout Pack 110's annual Angel Tree project.
Since the Scouts set up the 6-foot tree two weeks ago, the ornaments have been disappearing rapidly. With 62 boys making and tagging more, the pack has a near-endless supply and replenishes the tree every few days.
Paint from newly made ornaments stained Mike Law's hands as the 9-year-old hung tiny birdhouses on the tree.
"We are collecting gifts for the poor and homeless," he said. "On Christmas Eve, Santa will take them to kids who might not get anything if we didn't do this."
Santa will get a little help from troop parents, who plan to distribute the presents.
"These presents will help people who don't have any money to buy gifts," said Timmy Sensel, 9. "It makes me feel better, too."
His brother, Andy, 7, played with a plastic toy purchased from a nearby gum ball machine and said, "They might not even have enough money to buy one of these."
In front of the tree, the Scouts placed a poster with instructions for returning gifts. Shoppers have taken about 100 ornaments already. Like the Cooneys, they will attach the tags to wrapped presents and return them to the mall before Dec. 24.
"If they all come back as presents like they are supposed to, we will really be swamped," said Joanne Fraser, who along with Milly Czajkowski helped organize the annual event.
The ornaments go to the givers, with thanks from the Scouts.
The troop is cooperating with Neighbors in Need, which provides the names of South Carroll families who could use help.
"The cards all have the names of children who need things," Andy said. "They tell you the things you can get for them."
Susan Sensel, whose husband, Bill, is cub master, said the boys try to select tags from children of similar ages and wishes. The Scouts also will be shopping for gifts.
Scott Czajkowski, 9, said his mother took two tags from the tree so "we can get gifts for people who don't get any.
"One tag is for a boy who likes sports, so we are going to buy him a basketball," Scott said. "This is all part of the Christmas spirit."
"We bought trucks for a 4-year-old," said Scott's 7-year-old brother, Steven.
One tag for a 6-year-old girl asked for clothing and listed the appropriate sizes. At the end of the list, the child wrote "toys: anything."
Ms. Fraser said the troop, sponsored by the Freedom Optimist Club, has been "very happy at the community response" to its project.
"Some of the boys are too young to understand the concept of not getting presents," she said. "This brings it home to them."