SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -

Children up and the down the coast will have a happier holiday thanks to an effort put on by the community and our local heroes.

Santa Barbara County firefighters dropped off boxes filled with toys collected in the last few months at Unity Shoppe volunteer Barbara Tellefson's house so the toys can be sorted by age groups. 

It's for the Marine Corps' "Central Coast Toys for Tots" program.

All the toys collected for the drive will be distributed to families in need through the Unity Shoppe.

Tellefson says for the kids it will be a merrier Christmas and for the parents the opportunity to feel like a hero being able to have something to put under the tree.

"It's the greatest gift to give to a family," she said.  "Let the family be strong, otherwise we destroy the relationship between the parent and their children."

Students from Kellogg Elementary School volunteered to help sort the toys and some say it's the greatest gift of all being able to make Christmas a little more merrier for those who need it most.

"It's important because they need to feel like people are trying to help them.  And that's what we're doing here," Marlee Stout said.

Three hundred local charities across Santa Barbara County will receive the toys to distribute to the families they serve.

For more information, you can go to their website http://santa-maria-ca.toysfortots.org/local-coordinator-sites/lco-sites/default.aspx.