Long line for Salvation Army's Christmas hampers
It's sign of holiday spirit, but it's also a sign that London's economy - and its residents - are still struggling.
Thousands of the unemployed and under-employed braved the bitter cold Monday, standing in line for hours for a Christmas hamper from The Salvation Army.
And if the first day of the annual giveway is any indication, it is going to be a hectic week for the campaign.
Those waiting in line say they're hoping to help their family have a decent Christmas.
Cynthia Barran is a single mother of four. Her family gets by with just the necessities, and she says the hamper is a big help in tough times.
"It's big enough for everybody to share it....especially with Christmas because it's a lot to handle at times with bills and everything. So I'm excited."
The hampers are provided to families in need and include everything for a Christmas feast along with toys for children ages 12 and under.
Chris Nace, a single father of three, says "It will make my Christmas better and it will make my kids a lot happier to have all those nice turkey dinner you know for everybody."
Inside the warehouse, an army of volunteers is working tirelessly unloading and sorting toys that have been donated, sorting clothes and dividing up food items.
Salvation Army spokesperson Perron Goodyear says the massive turnout is a sign of the tough times.
"We've certainly seen the economy still continuing to take a hit in our community, and so more and more we're seeing folks who also were traditionally donors now turning to the Salvation Army for assistance. So the need continues to go up unfortunately but we're certainly prepared to do whatever we have to to make everybody's Christmas season enjoyable."
Goodyear adds that they expect to give away more than 6,000 hampers this week.
Anyone wanting a hamper is asked to bring ID for everyone in the household, proof of income and proof of address.
Organizers say the first person in line actually arrived at midnight, but there's no need to go to such extremes as they'll be handing out hampers everyday until Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.