About 1,200 children lined up in San Francisco to get a new toy in an annual event from firefighters, the mayor, and Santa Claus.
One little girl squealed in delight as she showed off her newly acquired necklace and friendship bracelets. "Yay!" she said, with obvious joy in her voice.
Firefighter John O'Connor said the effort is focused on the kids in the "roughest and toughest" neighborhoods, where the "economy hasn't lifted," and who could use a pick-me-up at Christmas.
Mother Nicole Holmes said it's just "amazing" to see how the presents make the children smile, especially for families who can't afford to buy iPhones, dinosaurs and even board games. "This way, at least they have something," she said.
The San Francisco Firefighters Toy Program, founded in 1949, has evolved into the city's largest and the nation's oldest year-round toy program of its kind, organizers said.
Driven by local firefighters and businesses that donate their time and resources, each year the Toy Program distributes more than 200,000 toys to kids in San Francisco, organizers said.
Plus, the program helps displaced children and families who become victims of fires, floods, and other life-changing disasters.