Christmas is typically a time of giving, but one family’s gifts were taken less than a week before the big day.

Even so, Frank Foley says he forgives the person who stole the items.

“I look at the times, the way things are…to me, it was an act of desperation,” he says.

The Lequille, N.S. resident was buying Christmas presents for his family in nearby Bridgetown when someone broke into his car.

Inside, he had groceries and gifts for his children, grandchildren and wife, who is suffering from stage-four multiple sclerosis.

“I spotted a little angel that had under it ‘special angel’ written on a pendant for a necklace. That’s what I’ve been calling my wife for 23 years, my special angel,” says Foley. “When I saw it I thought, I can’t afford it, but she’s got to have it.”

Foley says he had just gone back inside the grocery store to pick up some items he forgot, but when he returned to his truck, the groceries and gifts were gone.

“I immediately had a sick feeling and knew what happened.”

Still, Foley refuses to press charges and says he feels no anger towards the person he says stole from him.

“My only wish is to be able to tell them it’s OK, I forgive them.”

Foley says that, as a child, he was taught that forgiveness should be unconditional.

But Foley’s Daughter Chantel thinks otherwise.

“I feel there are other resources these people could have gone to. They didn’t need to go in the back of someone’s truck,” she says.

Word of the theft spread quickly though Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley and area residents have been showing their support for the Foleys.

More than 1,500 people have also shared the Foley’s story on social media and donations have been pouring in all the way from Alberta.

Some people showed up on the family’s doorstep Thursday afternoon, their arms full of food.

“It was on Facebook, a couple of people shared it,” says neighbour Leah Stultz. “My mom shared it, so we figured we got some extra stuff, so we’d come.”

Foley says he is overwhelmed by the community’s generosity, but in the end, family is all that matters.

“The gifts are just material. As long as we have each other this will be the best Christmas we’ve ever had.”

With files from CTV Atlantic's Suzette Belliveau