"To see their faces light up..." 400 children experiencing homelessness get new toys in Echo Park

ECHO PARK (KABC) -- It was Christmas in June for more than 400 children at the Dream Center in Echo Park.

"The children at this 'Play Your Part' event today, many of them are in foster care. Some of them have been neglected and abused, they're living below the poverty line," said Jane Butler, Director of the Toy Foundation. "So, an event like this that the Toy Foundation hosts is very meaningful because it gives them toys. It shows that someone cares about them."

Nearly 40 companies like Disney and Nickelodeon teamed up with the Toy Foundation and the Dream Center to donate toys and set up activities for these children.

The 2019 Los Angeles Homeless Services count found that youth homelessness increased by 24% from last year.

That's about 4,000 children ages 18 and under experiencing homelessness.

Southern California Toy companies donated more than 25,000 toys for the 'Play Your Part' event and each child walked away with a bag full.

"To see their faces light up when they receive a brand new toy that they can call their own is priceless," said Butler. "So many of the kids here today have never had a toy that they get to call their own."
Copyright © 2019 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.