Midnight Mission plays Santa for LA's underprivileged families

Monday, December 26, 2016
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About 2,000 kids were given Christmas presents at downtown LA's Midnight Mission.

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- For children and families living without the basics during the year, life became just a little merrier on Christmas Day.

The Midnight Mission on downtown LA's Skid Row served meals to some 4,000 needy people and gave out holiday gifts to young children who otherwise would have gone without.

Hundreds of businesses, local groups and neighbors donated to make sure kids not only got a holiday meal, but a Christmas present.

One-year-old O'Mari had a big smile as he picked out his Christmas present.

"It's fun because you see the smile on his face," said his mother, Yvonne Jimenez. "It makes me happy to see him happy."

The mission says about 2,000 kids will come through Santa's Village and get a chance to pick out three or four toys.

Hundreds of volunteers helped prepare and serve meals - involving some 700 pounds of potatoes, 600 pounds of eggs and more than 3,000 sausage links and slices of ham.

"To be able to serve others. "We're used to going to a restaurant where somebody is serving us," said volunteer Wendy Nguyen. "To be able to help somebody, bring a smile to their face - to do it wholeheartedly is wonderful."