NOVATO, Calif. (KGO) -- The last weekend before Christmas highlights the needs and struggles that so many Bay Area families are facing this season. Today in the North Bay, nonprofits were busy helping underserved families make their holiday a bit brighter.
Volunteers from North Marin Community Services in Novato were busy Saturday helping Santa, making some holiday dreams come true for hundreds of kids and their families.
"It means they're loved and cared for no matter how much we make," said Tara Turner.
"It's the 50th year for the nonprofit's 'Holiday Share' event, wish lists fulfilled with toys and lots of bikes.
"Yes, a great Christmas gift for me and my brothers, siblings and family," said Leo Rodriguez from Novato.
"This is one of the highest numbers we have served in 50 years -- 474 kids will be served today," said Stephanie Williams from North Marin Community Services.
Williams says the need speaks volumes to the economic reality across the Bay Area.
"Inflation has hit a lot of families and people are still recovering from the pandemic, especially low-income families. It's taking them longer to recover," Williams said.
Yana Albero was here with her son.
"Life is getting more expensive. It means a lot to see our kid happy," Albero said.
Across town, a friendly bell-ringing competition was happening: Novato police officers versus Novato firefighters.
"I think we're going to win this," said Novato Police Captain Sasha D'Amico.
The Salvation Army was the winner here. Money raised will help the community with food, clothes and more.
"Utility assistance, rent assistance and so on -- there is a need here in Marin County. Families will benefit from what the police and fire departments are doing this morning," said Mark Stearns from the Salvation Army.
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