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L.A. nonprofit provides free Christmas gifts

December 18, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
The Union Rescue Mission is giving homeless families and parents a chance to give their children a real Christmas by holding the 18th Annual Christmas Store.The chapel of the Union Rescue Mission has been transformed into a Christmas store. For two days, homeless families put aside some of their struggles and picked out free toys for their children.

"We've never tried 1,000 families before. I think we've done 450. We've done 750, but we're going to try to do 1,000 because of the great need right now," said Andy Bales of the Union Rescue Mission.

Alitha Chism's four children range in age from 4 to 11 years old. After more than a year on Skid Row, the family just got a home. Thanks to the Union Rescue Mission, she's able to give her kids some gifts.

"That was my biggest problem, having to have Christmas on Skid Row," said Chism.

While Chism shopped in one room, her kids were busy in another room picking out something special for her. It was a tough decision, but the kids finally reached a decision.

"I'm going to give her a watch," said Chism's son.

"I'm going to share with my mommy and give her some ChapStick," said Chism's young daughter.

But Chism said she already has what she's wanted most.

"Getting a home and being able to have toys for each one of my kids, that's my Christmas present right there," Chism said.

"I don't care if I get nothing for me, nothing for me. I don't need nothing."