EL MONTE (CBSLA.com) — More than a thousand community volunteers gathered Tuesday to assemble holiday gift baskets for families in need.

The annual event began at 9 a.m. at the El Monte City School District Office, 3540 Lexington Ave.

“Each food basket has a turkey, as well as all the other amenities that you’re gonna need for a Christmas meal,” El Monte Police Sgt. Alex Martinez said. “This is our 32nd year we’ve done this. It literally started out in a garage, and it’s grown to 800 baskets and 7,000 toys.”

The baskets, which were filled with items donated by local businesses and non-profits, were delivered to 800 local families who signed up through the El Monte Police’s Community Relations Department.

“We like to pull together and help the less fortunate. Anybody that we can help, we just try and give as much as we can,” volunteer Wendy Munoz said.

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