Santa a big hit at Victor Valley Rescue Mission’s Christmas toy giveaway
The 11th annual event, held at the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds, served nearly 1,500 local children.
VICTORVILLE — Santa Claus put smiles on nearly 1,500 children Tuesday during Victor Valley Rescue Mission’s 11th annual Great Christmas Celebration and Toy Giveaway at the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds.
The festivities included thousands of donated toys given to local children during the popular Victorville event.
“I can’t say enough about the Rescue Mission, the volunteers and the sponsors who work so hard to make this a special day for our children,” said Victorville Mayor Gloria Garcia, who attended the event with Mayor Pro Tem Rita Ramirez.
Inside “Santa’s Toy Shop,” pre-registered children and their families waited for “volunteer runner elves” to read the child’s wish list, go behind a curtain and pick age-appropriate toys for the youngsters.
“There’s a lot of toys to choose from, and there’s a lot of excited children on the other side of that curtain,” volunteer Diana Stovall told the Daily Press. “I just hope that I pick out the right toys.”
Stovall was one of several volunteers who said the “smile on a child’s face” was their favorite part of helping at the toy giveaway.
“This is a very much needed event,” said volunteer Ed Harris, who participated alongside his wife, Marilyn. “To some, these are just insignificant toys, but to some children, they represent an act of kindness from a stranger — something they may remember 20 years from now.”
After receiving toys, guests visited “Santa’s Workshop,” where Jolly Old Saint Nick listened to hundreds of requests from wide-eyed children.
“Look at all these smiling children, this is my favorite time of year,” Santa told the Daily Press. “Please tell the children to obey their parents, to do their chores and to put out plenty of chocolate chip cookies.”
Santa’s Workshop included live music, a Christmas craft table, face painting, Bible stories, giveaways and several vendors.
Guests also heard a gospel presentation shared by Impact Christian Church Pastor Dane Davis, who writes religious-based columns for the Daily Press, and music by Grace Awakening Ministry.
Several Rite-Aid Wellness Ambassadors, including Olivia Westley and Carolyn Maya, offered free flu shots with the enticement of a coupon for free ice cream.
The event was also attended by members of the California Highway Patrol, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and the Victorville Fire Department, who displayed emergency response vehicles outside where the band Tube Force played Christmas music.
VVRM Community Relations Coordinator Dawn Quigg said the annual toy giveaway continues to expand with more toys, volunteers and sponsors.
“On behalf of the Victor Valley Rescue Mission, I want to thank everyone who made today possible,” Quigg said. “I also want to close with our message to the community, which is from Luke 2:14 in the Bible.”
Luke 2:14, from the King James Version: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.