Carrie Harrah has a renewed faith in Santa Claus.
As a single working mom, she knew she would have little to give her 6-year-old daughter for Christmas. But a last-minute toy giveaway sponsored by the Salvation Army changed everything.
"This will give my daughter a Christmas," she said Tuesday with tears in her eyes.
Harrah, along with members of about 50 other Carson City families, searched through donated toys and clothes to find gifts for their children.
Harrah selected baby dolls, coloring books, shirts and stocking stuffers.
The Salvation Army opens their doors each Christmas Eve to families who may not have received help through other organizations.
"We don't want even one child to go without Christmas," said Salvation Army Capt. Amanda Mitchell. "This community is great. We always have plenty for all the kids and teens."
And the spirit of giving is contagious.
Harrah's daughter received a bike from her school, then received another through a different organization.
"Why be stingy and keep two bikes?" she asked.
So she offered the extra bike to a friend with a 7-year-old daughter.
"We were both crying because that's what her daughter wanted," she said. "God works in mysterious ways."
Ilona Standridge also found a way to share the Christmas spirit.
After receiving help from the Salvation Army for gifts for her children, she noticed a neighbor who was also in need.
After talking with her, Standridge found the woman had no food for Christmas dinner or gifts for her children, age 4 and 18 months.
Standridge quickly offered her friend a dinner she had received from Friends In Service Helping then called the Salvation Army. Standridge spent Tuesday picking out gifts ranging from Hot Wheels toy cars to a construction set to books for the children.
She plans to surprise the family with their gifts today.
"When their faces brighten up because they weren't expecting it, it's going to make my day," she said. "That's what makes Christmas good. And this is going to be a happy one. I know my kids have, and I know her kids will have."