VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Monday morning at a Holiday Inn in Virginia Beach, a slew of Santa's elves were busy sorting through a massive mountain of thousands of toys.
"It's a lot of hard work behind the scenes, but worth it to see the twinkle in the children's eyes," said Kathy Harris with Operation Wish List.
In a room nearby, dozens of families like the Pittman's sit patiently waiting for a Christmas surprise.
"I'm disabled and I have two daughters. I am a single parent on a fixed income," said Diana Pittman.
So, that's where Operation Wish List comes in to pick up the slack.
"We just try to create dreams for them they can remember forever," said Harris.
The organization was started in 2011, and this year they're helping more than 400 families give gifts this holiday season.
"The families may know they are troubled, but the children don't," said Harris.
The organization uses a referral system to find families who are experiencing trauma or abuse, who may be homeless or who are in transition.
"I am a survivor of domestic violence and sexual assault, and I was homeless once," said Harris.
Operation Wish List helps children from infants to 16-year-olds. Each bag handed out Monday has one of the children's wishes inside along with plenty of other toys, games and clothes they can take home.
"Like I said, my girls don't ask for much, so anything they get really makes them happy and makes me feel good," said Pittman