This is the second year Elizabeth Yoachum has signed up for the program saying her 5 and 9-year-old's reactions to the gifts warmed her heart.
"They are so excited," she told FOX40. "They are happy and they just tell me, 'Mom, all I can say is this is a blessing,' and I say, 'Great!'"
Yoachum was one of the 2,500 families that received a bag of toys during the Salvation Army Christmas distribution Wednesday at Cal Expo.
It wasn't just toys that families received, but a box of food with frozen chickens and sides for a Christmas dinner made possible by local law enforcement.
Yoachum says her family wouldn't have Christmas without the help.
"No, it's just hard. Period," she said. "I just moved. I just got housing. And my husband is not working at this time. So, basically, we are just making it month to month on the social security check."
Major Ivan Wild with Salvation Army of Northern California says there are so many families that struggle during the holiday season, and an event like this takes months of preparation and hundreds of volunteers -- but it's all worth it.
"Seeing the faces of the kids and the families who receive these things," Wild said. "Just the joy in their face just really does make it worth while."
Yoachum says she hopes she can one day give back to other families just like the community has helped her.
"I would love to come out and help an organization like this and make a smile on another child's or adult's face," she said. "That would be amazing."