More than 1,000 San Benito County children who might not know
the joy of unwrapping presents on Christmas will get a visit from
Santa this year, with the help of volunteers from the League of
United Latin American Citizens.
More than 1,000 San Benito County children who might not know the joy of unwrapping presents on Christmas will get a visit from Santa this year, with the help of volunteers from the League of United Latin American Citizens.
For the first time, the San Benito County LULAC Adult and Youth councils are asking local residents to donate toys and other gifts for underprivileged children.
In five previous LULAC toy drives, most of the toys have come from donations by the South Santa Clara County Fire District in Morgan Hill.
“Every year we’ve been going over to Morgan Hill to pick up the gifts, but the need is so much greater this year,” said LULAC State Director Mickie Luna. “We’re reaching out to the kids in the labor camps countywide, and not just Latinos – it’s for all children.”
Luna credits the Youth Council for initiating the toy drive.
“This only got started because the youth group brought a list of names in to us of the children they thought would be missing out at Christmas,” she said. “I’m so happy they volunteer their time to do this, and it takes a lot of work to sort the gifts, wrap them and fill the bags.”
Luna said she’s seeing a greater need in the community because more people are finding out about the program.
“We ask the teachers to send us a list of the children that could use our help,” she said. “And the referrals keep coming in.”
SBC LULAC president Marley Holte said he noticed during Holte’s Holiday Dinners on Thanksgiving and Christmas that more and more children are not getting presents because of the lagging economy.
“Adults know what to expect. Children don’t with Christmas,” Holte said. “It’s important all children receive the same type of rewards and gifts the other children are receiving.”
Luna said the toy drive would be even more successful if LULAC had fresh fruit and candy to give away.
“It would be nice to give them an orange and some candy to go with their gifts,” she said. “That would make it even better for them and put a smile on their face.”
Toys and other donations may be dropped off at the YMCA, 339 Fifth St. LULAC will give the toys to the children Dec. 21 and 22 at the YMCA. Gift deliveries can be arranged for children who are ill and cannot attend.
For more information, call Luna at 637-1342, Holte at 623-4313 or Peggy Corrales at 637-8879.