More than 3,000 local families came out this weekend for the free toy giveaways put on by the Children's Resource Network of the Central Coast.
"It truly embodies the spirit of Christmas," said founder and CEO of CRNCC, Lisa Ray. "It just makes our hearts smile and beam with joy and happiness to know that we can give back to the community, put smiles on the faces of the children, and relieve some of the stress and pressure from the parents that are just trying to get by right now."
The events are held every year in partnership with local California Highway Patrol divisions, Central Coast Walmarts, Sentinel Peak Resources, and other generous community partners to make sure the local children have a gift to be excited about this Christmas.
"The Children's Resource Network, if we didn't have them, a lot of us wouldn't have Christmas," said mother of two Nichole Phipps. "They bring a lot of stuff to our community around here, my kids are ecstatic right now."
The organization is held two separate free toy giveaways, one in Grover Beach on Saturday and one in San Miguel on Sunday. Organizers say families waited in line in their cars to pick out toys for 3 to 5 hours at the San Miguel giveaway.
"We come actually every year to this," said Phipps. "Without them there's a lot of families, not just us, but everyone that just needs that help, and without them a lot of people wouldn't know what to do, there's not many programs out there like them."
The giveaways were open to the public for any family in need, with no referral necessary.
"I want to thank the community for your generosity, I want to thank the entire Central Coast divisions of the California Highway Patrol, the amount of love, heart, soul, effort that they have put into making sure this is a huge success for the community is very commendable and we are grateful and proud to have them as our community partner," said Ray.
Visit the Network's website for more information on the drive-thru events, other programs, donation drives, or how to become a volunteer.