SAN BERNARDINO - Some 3,000 children - many of them from economically disadvantaged homes - know they will have at least one present on Christmas Day.

The lines were long but spirits were high as The Way World Outreach church held its "Christmas on the Block" gift giveaway on Saturday morning.

Among those in line were Jennie Gonzales, her three children and a friend of one of her daughters.

"I just got out of the hospital and wasn't feeling good. But I wanted the kids to at least have one present," Gonzales said.

"We won't even have a tree this year," she said.

The gifts were plentiful and most were gender and age specific.

They included a gourmet cupcake maker, "Military Fly Force" war planes, attack helicopters, doll makeup kit, tea sets, electronic organs and many more items.

Among the happiest people on the church campus, located at 3701 N. Sierra Way, were the volunteers.

"It's a joy to do this," said Sheila Tatum. "We want those kids to know that Jesus loves them."

"It's better to give a gift than to get one," said Albert Jimenez, 11, who was among the helpers.

"This really helps us," he said. "It keeps us in touch with people."

Irma E Ramirez, a Rialto resident who has been helping with this pre-Christmas tradition of the church for the last seven years, said, "I'm so happy to be part of the team."

Another church helper, Army reservist and full-time medical assistant Cindie Pedroza, 29, said, "Seeing the smile on those kids' faces is priceless."

Ruben Baca of San Bernardino brought five of his grandkids to the event.

For those kids anyway, the presents won't be wrapped and saved for later.

"They are going to get them today. It's part of their Christmas from Grandpa," he said.


Reach Jim via email, call him at 909-386-3855, or find him on Twitter @JSteinbergsRoad.