MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- Throughout the year Catholic Charities of Merced helps out families in need with food and clothing. And every Christmas they need toys to help parents who may not be able to buy them for their children.
Dena Medeiros of the Catholic Charities of Merced said, "People are very responsive when it comes to children. Most of the toys are brand new. We did get some help from our corporate office but for the most part, the community was very responsive getting toys for this drive."
The toy drive offers hope to struggling families every year but this year more families are in need of help.
Catholic Charities says nearly 40 families lost their homes from this summer's Detwiler Fire near Mariposa.
They worked with the America Red Cross to offer help to those victims.
Dena Medeiros said, "As they sought assistance we kind of separated them categorically. So if they were Mariposa fire victims we made sure that they had food and also that they were at the top of the list with the children we registered for this program today."
Families from all walks of life pre-registered for Monday's toy drive last month. Toys were handed out to 160 children.
James Ellington is a single parent who stopped by to pick up gifts for his two daughters.
James Ellington said, "I'm the only one that's buying them presents. So anything extra would be a tremendous help to me. You know I can save money for other things in the house."
This year the center took a break from the daily services they offer to the community and decided to focus on the joy of Christmas.
New this year kids were treated to arts and crafts, face painting and of course a visit from Santa Claus.
Catholic Charities of Merced takes new approach to help those in need