LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A big local Christmas tradition took place in downtown Los Angeles Monday.

As KCAL9/CBS2’s Kandiss Crone reports, the Midnight Mission is hosting a Christmas Day brunch for thousands of homeless people and handing out Christmas gifts to children in need.

The Urban Voices Project was singing Christmas carols to get people in the mood — spreading some holiday cheer.

Once people enter what is called Santa’s Village, kids can walk to the gifts area and pick from several toys. They get four of them each.

For some of the children, picking out their favorite four wasn’t easy.

“I have my own writing kit today because Christmas is all about care and families coming together,” said Olivia Brown. “It means a lot to me because all these kids get to have toys and it fills their hearts so much.”

“We don’t have a lot and we’re down on our luck right now,” said Olivia’s father Darwin Brown. “This Christmas we are so thankful that the Midnight Mission has done this for us.”

Volunteers also served up a hot brunch to everyone.

Kitchen supervisor James Farr used to be on the receiving end. For him serving the less fortunate is his way of giving back to the Mission.

“It’s just so gratifying because a lot of times I’ve been in these lines right here. Going through these lines every day and I didn’t know where my next meal was going to come from,” said Farr.

Volunteers say that although they help people every day, they know that today’s event is especially meaningful for the community they serve.

“At times of national celebration like a holiday like this people feel even more lost and forgotten and it’s a time where we all come together,” said Georgia Berkovich of the Midnight Mission. “That sense of community and family I think is so important.”

Volunteers donated more than 10,000 toys.

 

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