Kids get toys from heroes fresh from Lilac Fire frontlines - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Kids get toys from heroes fresh from Lilac Fire frontlines

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EL CAJON (NEWS 8) - More than 140 children received early Christmas gifts Saturday thanks to a local church and some of the county's bravest men and women.

At the East County Transitional Living Center, families going through a rough patch are given a place to stay while they get back on their feet. Sometimes it can be hard to find holiday cheer at places like these, and that's why the center throws an annual Christmas party.

"The children don't understand what's going on with mom and dad, or mom or dad. They're just kids, and to get a present and to understand the Christmas story is what we want to do," the center's Harold Brown said.

Nayeli Guerrero's two children, who call the center home, received toys donated by the Church of the Nativity in Rancho Santa Fe.

"It's been a little bit hard when you're by yourself," Guerrero said. "This program helps a lot and this is the second year my kids have been getting presents."

The toys were handed out by San Miguel firefighters, many of whom just finished leading the fight against the Lilac Fire. Now, they're leading the community in carols, jolly as ever.

Eventually, the hope is all 73 families living at the center can find their way to more permanent housing but for this holiday organizers want to make it special for the children.

"It means a lot," one parent said. "My family is the first and most important. My 2 kids and myself, we're family. I'm really happy."

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