An annual toy drive desperately needs donations in its 27th year.

York's Helping Hand for the Homeless is seeking toy donations of dolls and trucks to give away to local kids and families in need, said volunteer director Cynthia Kemp. Donations will be accepted through Saturday.

"The objective is that every little girl should have a doll," she said. "That's something every little girl wants -- it doesn't matter who they are."

Helping Hand distributes hot meals to the homeless on weekends, and those are the people who receive the Christmas toys, Kemp said. When they see the presents, she said, it's like nothing else.

"The children's eyes just light up," Kemp said. "They light up so brightly with smiles, and you can tell that they're feeling love."

Love: And the younger kids usually don't know why they don't have what others do, especially around the holidays, she said.

"They don't understand why they don't have their own bedroom, bathroom. They don't have their own of anything, other than what's in their suitcase," Kemp said.

But many of them now have Christmas trees, thanks to another Helping Hand giveaway, she said. And they will now have gifts to go under it.

The toy drive is a program meant to raise children's self-esteem and show them that they have a support system, Kemp said. It's a tangible way to give to a child over the holidays, when everything from shopping to gifts to TV shows stresses giving and receiving, she said.

"When they don't get anything, that's a big blow to a child," Kemp said.

New roof: But Helping Hand also took a blow of its own: The York City building's roof, which has been patched up over the years, is now beyond repair. For the past six months, its doors have been closed, she said.

Although it has run its programs through parking lots, its accessibility has suffered, Kemp said.

"It's just that people don't have access to come in and get the things they need when they need it," she said.

So in addition to toy donations, a volunteer roofer and donations toward the roof are on Helping Hand's Christmas list, Kemp said. But she's keeping the faith.

"None of this would be able to happen without God," she said.

-- Reach Mollie Durkin at