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Santa expected at annual toy give-away

December 18, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — The "Ho, Ho, Ho!"-ing bearded dude in red could make an appearance at the Neighborhood House tomorrow during its annual toy give-away, according to Neighborhood House Director Ricardo Ortega.

"Santa — he comes in once in a while. Sometimes he comes for a few hours," Ortega said.

However, if Santa Claus can't make it to Calexico, Ortega said 494 kids will still be given toys.

The toys will be distributed from the Neighborhood House on 506 4th St. from 3 to 6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.

Only those who submitted a form and documentation by Friday are eligible to pick up a toy. To qualify, parents had to prove their child or children were needy residents of Calexico.

Once the kids were approved, their names were divvied up between various Valley agencies.

Ortega said the agencies donating toys this year include the U.S. Border Patrol, the city of Calexico, U.S. Customs Service and the Center for Employment Training in El Centro.

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Ortega said the Border Patrol selected 200 names for whom to provide presents.

Since the gift-givers know the names and ages of the recipients, the toys generally are tailored to each child.

"They're really nice toys and we try to make giving them away as personable as possible. That's why we let them know the name and age," he said.

For the kids who missed out on qualifying for the toy giveaway, Neighborhood House will stage a "Christmas Store" from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.

At the "store," kids can pick out gifts that cost only 50 cents or a $1 for their parents or vice versa.

After the gift is selected, the Neighborhood House staffers will wrap it.

Ortega said one of the more popular gifts picked out by the kids is costume jewelry for moms.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or claverie7@hotmail.com

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