SAN DIEGO (CNS/CBS 8) - More than 900 needy families will benefit from the annual distribution of Christmas gifts that begins Saturday at the Salvation Army Kroc Center in East San Diego.
Families that have signed up for assistance encompass about 1,500 children, according to the Salvation Army. Last year, 836 families with 1,375 children were helped.
The Kroc Center's skate park has been transformed into the "Toy n' Joy Shop." Parents will walk through the shop Saturday and Monday to select two gifts and a stocking stuffer for their children.
Distributions will also take place at Salvation Army centers in Chula Vista, Clairemont, downtown San Diego, El Cajon, Escondido and Oceanside.
Between them, nearly 5,300 families with nearly 15,000 children will be helped this year, according to the Salvation Army.
"I think it just speaks to the spirit of Christmas and the spirit of giving and helping our fellow man and those that are less fortunate," volunteer Angela Passanisi said. "And if you can't do that at Christmas, when can you do it?"
Recipients have been selected and will shop by appointment. The Salvation Army suggests other families needing assistance call 211 to access local services.