By Lisa Hughes

BOSTON (CBS) – Helping make the holidays a little bit brighter for families that could use a hand; Monday was day one of the Salvation Army’s efforts to do that in Boston.

It’s a joint project of the Salvation Army, area businesses and hundreds of volunteers. When it’s over, thousands of local families will have a merrier Christmas.

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Christmas songs filled the Castle in Park Square as families filled the great hall. This holiday event will benefit about 15,000 people from Greater Boston. They chose toys for their children and warm coats, too. And they received food vouchers to be sure they have a hearty Christmas dinner.

Salvation Army holiday event at Castle In Park Sq. (WBZ-TV)

“It helps my family to have a better Christmas, to have food on the table,” said Kristen Benders. She and Shawnae Butler came primarily for their children. “This helps me and my son have a good Christmas,” Shawnae told us.

“The people who are coming in are families that might have enough year round to meet their needs, but when it comes to the Christmas season and there are extra expenses, just need some extra help,” says Major Marcus Jugenheimer of the Salvation Army.

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Salvation Army event at the Castle in Park Sq. (WBZ-TV)

The Salvation Army, two dozen Boston area businesses and hundreds of volunteers deliver that help. “It helps my heart to give back to the community, so that’s why I volunteer,” said Kim Carrington.

“It’s just a wonderful feeling to be able to help people,” added Lynda Sorensen, another volunteer.

“It’s wonderful and helps my family out in hard times and I think this is great,” said Kelliann Derosa, who was looking for a coat for her one year old. Everyone left with a bag of goodies, and a smile.

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The Salvation Army’s annual Christmas Castle event goes on through Wednesday.

Lisa Hughes