Nonprofit AZCEND is holding its annual Operation Santa to assist families.

The agency has registered 61 eligible Gilbert families for this holiday season, AZCEND CEO Trinity Donovan said.

Donovan said the families are appreciative and told the story of one woman who learned of Operation Santa as she received rent and utility assistance.

“She was just so grateful that we were able to help in that difficult time when she wasn’t able to pay her rent and then to know that the stress and burden of not having toys for your kids for Christmas, to relieve that for her, too,” Donovan said. “It’s a way for our community to come together and be able to support everyone.”

Residents can contribute by adopting a family, which will allow a donor to preview the children’s wishlist, or by donating a new toy or clothing to Operation Santa.

Interested residents are asked to drop off donations at Heritage Center, 132 W. Bruce Ave., Gilbert, by Dec. 12 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Toy distribution is Dec. 18-20 by appointment.

Anyone with questions can contact Family Resource Center Manager Donna Beedle at [email protected] or 480-963-1423, ext. 116.