LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The annual Christmas tradition of giving to the needy continued on Wednesday, bringing joy to hundreds of children.

Some 2,000 underprivileged children spent Christmas at the Midnight Mission on Skid Row, where they were led through “Santa’s Village”, and were able to choose from piles and groups of toys, including books, trucks, princess crowns and dolls.

“It’s been a great day to be able to help out the Midnight Mission and to see the kids’ excitement when they can pick out four gifts, just for themselves,” volunteer Hannah Coan said.

Many of those in need, a large number of them homeless, turned to the mission for no more than a hot meal. Alarmingly, this Christmas marked the second year in a row the mission served over a million meals — the most since the Great Depression.

“Homelessness here in Los Angeles is a very paramount issue,” Midnight Mission President and CEO Larry Adamson said. “So agencies like the Midnight Mission, we become that surrogate for all those families.”

Some volunteers, seeing the clear necessity for aide, have found themselves continuing to help with the mission each year, due to a sense of duty and a sense of internal reward.

“I just love the philosophy of the mission here,” volunteer Barbara Jacobs said. “They’re kind, they treat people as human beings, and any one of us could be here.”

The Midnight Mission opened its doors 100 years ago, and they have never missed a day serving those in need. This Christmas, it was to the benefit of local children in need.

“It’s so cool, I like my toy that I got from Christmas,” 6-year-old Luis Carranza said. “It’s so awesome, and you can move it and I can play with it at my house!”

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