A valley organization geared up Friday night for its annual toy giveaway, preparing to distribute thousands of gifts to children.
Parents braved chilly temperatures overnight for prime spots in line outside the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission in Indio. Chairs, strollers and eager kids lined the sidewalk as people anxiously awaited morning and free holiday gifts.
The doors open at 7 a.m. Saturday at 47470 Van Buren St, Indio.
"It's been a little bit tough this year for me and my daughters but it's always nice to know these kind of places give us an opportunity to have a little something for our kids," said Nancy Marmolejo, who said she's on a tight budget this year.
Marmolejo is a single mother and a domestic violence survivor. She's trying to make Christmas special for her three daughters, including a newborn baby.
"It is worth everything for the kids," she said, bracing for temperatures in the 40s through the overnight.
"Maybe get some fever," Marmolejo laughed. "Just trying to keep cozy and get warm inside the car for the little ones. And me as a mom, stay here – strong for them."
Inside the rescue mission sit more than 15,000 toys for all ages – board games, dolls, scooters, legos. Every item was all donated by members of the community. Following a raffle, some lucky children will win a bicycle.
"There are so many children out here, especially in the east Coachella Valley, that are living either at or below the poverty line," said Scott Wolf, development director of CVRM. "We just want to make their Christmas all that much better."
To receive toys, adults must bring their children with them. The rescue mission is taking donations through Christmas Eve.