The line stretched around the block at the Long Beach Toys for Tots distribution center. It's a good measure of the need so many families have for assistance in acquiring gifts for every child.
Marine Jamie Rodriguez is the Toys for Tots Coordinator.
"This right here is what really does it for us. At Toys for Tots, we really like to see the families come out and then we give them the toys. It's the look that we get."
Salvation Army volunteers formed an assembly line of present pickers to rush the gifts into the hands of the more than one thousand families across six counties being served this year.
"When you see smiles on the faces, the tears in the eyes, people hug you and say 'thank you,' it's worth it all," Major Darrell Kingsbury with The Salvation Army said.
Families served by Toys for Tots come from a wide variety of backgrounds, but they all have something in common. A need for a little bit of help on Christmas and a great deal of gratitude for those who provide that help.
"It's a blessing we got it and I just thank God for it. It's not too many places that do that for people. My kids are very grateful for the things they have gotten," Gulfport resident Shamekia Smith said.
"If you're a single parent and you don't have a good job or some money to do these things with, it's very hard when your kids wake up in the morning and they don't have nothing under the Christmas tree," Shirley Pope added.
For the grateful parents, no excuses for Santa's absence will be necessary this year, thanks to the efforts of these elves and all those who donated to Toys for Tots.