LOS ANGELES - As many as 300 families got to play in the snow and celebrate Christmas in July at the Union Rescue Mission Wednesday afternoon.
Jessica Mira and her son Benjamin are one of hundreds of families who celebrated in the snow.
"It definitely helped me get out of depression because it was hard what we were going through," Mira said. "I don't have the money to take them sometimes so these events really help to distract the kids and keep them busy."
The children played in 20 tons of snow, ate watermelon shaped like Christmas trees and had a long-awaited visit from Santa. There were also booths and activities that were made possible thanks in large part to volunteers.
Andy Bales, CEO of the rescue mission, said they're housing more people with less donations.
"I could not pull this off without energetic volunteers and that's the biggest way to help," he said. "Our numbers are up 55 percent of people under our roof. Giving is down 23 percent so we could always use a donation of any kind."
Officer Deon Joseph, who is well-known and well-liked in the Skid Row community, praised Bales for his work despite not always having enough resources.
"I love the fact that he can be filled to capacity and if I find a family on the street, I can call him and we can get them right off the streets," he said. "We won't allow children to live on the streets of Skid Row. It's just really a blessing to know these folks."
The mission has been around for more than 100 years and this was its 14th annual Christmas in July event.