SAN JOSE (KCBS) - Dozens of needy families endured the nighttime chill camped outside Sacred Heart Community Service in San Jose for the chance to pick out free toys and books as holiday gifts for their children.
The chilly temperatures were a small price to pay for the chance to see the joy in his children's eyes on Christmas morning, said Ramon Mendoza.
"Their happiness, that I can imagine in my head," Mendoza said, is how he and his wife made it through the night, feeling "the warmness just imagining their smiles."
KCBS' Matt Bigler Reports:
Needy San Jose Parents Brave Overnight Cold For Free Holiday Toys
The Catholic charity was expecting more than 5,000 needy families to participate in its annual toy giveway, which spokesperson Sofia Marie Szabo said also includes books.
"We try to encourage reading. Literacy is a crucial way of ending poverty for many of these kids and allowing them to become self-sufficient economically," she said. "So we encourage parents to pick two toys and a book for each child."
Mendoza said he got in line at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday to give himself the best shot at finding a crimping iron for his teenage daughter.
Sacred Heart still needs more toys and books, particularly gifts suitable for teenagers.
(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)
for more features.