Families Camp Out, Waiting for the "Miracle on 1st Street" - NBC Southern California

Families Camp Out, Waiting for the "Miracle on 1st Street"

For the 29th year Toys Will be Given Away at the Hollenbeck Youth Center in Los Angeles

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    Families at the front of the encampment on Cummings at First have been camped out since since eight Friday morning, waiting for what is more than a toy giveaway.

    Over three decades, it's become a community Christmas festival.

    Santa gets two more weeks, but inside the Hollenbeck Youth Center, for program director Jose Correa and his crew of young volunteers, it's a race .

    "Yeah, we're going to make it," promises Jose Correa, program director.

    Families Camp Out Waiting for the Miracle on 1st Street

    [LA] Families Camp Out Waiting for the Miracle on 1st Street
    Families camp out, waiting for the 29th annual "Miracle on 1st Street" toy giveaway.
    (Published Friday, Dec. 10, 2010)

    They're preparing for the 29th edition of what they call the "Miracle on 1st Street." A Christmas festival which provides free toys to as many as 10,000 youngsters who might otherwise do without.

    Some already outside waiting with family on Cummings Avenue.

    "She wants barbies, a lot of barbies," according to Juan Lopez, Casey's Dad.

    "I really wanted DSI, which I didn't got for my birthday because it costs too much," says Braulio, a 5th grader.

    "What a blessing for kids. It's my first time. Oh that's a good thing. It's kind of hard right now. Times are tough," according to Jesse Sierra of Boyle Heights.

    This is the third year for Jesse Sierra with his family, but his wife has been coming since she was a little girl.

    "My mom used to bring us since I was five years old, so now my daughter is five years old," says Maria Gonzales who enjoys the tradition.

    Many of the toys are gifts from individuals, along with corporate sponsors like Big 5.

    "If you haven't been before, you're in for a big surprise. It's a wonderful occasion, and it's a good opportunity just to take care of the kids that need it the most," says Rick Gridley of Big 5.

    Every year the toys come at the beginning of the event, but afterwards the festival moves outside onto first street.

    "It's a show," according Correa, program director.

    In order to be one of the first inside, all it takes is a night camping outside. Could be New Year's eve in Pasadena, or the night before Black Friday shopping, but this the night before the "Miracle on 1st Street."

    The fun starts at 10 Saturday morning, and runs till mid afternoon.