Photo by Reneé de Santos – EPISD
Christmas came early for Roberts’ 30 pre-k students on Thursday morning as Santa’s elves masked up to safely distribute gifts in a drive-through event on the school’s parking lot.
Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 844 donated the toys and goodies to the students who were excited to get a glimpse of their favorite teacher elf. The teachers and principal joined in the fun with the veterans handing out the gifts as parents drove in one by one to pick up their kids’ gifts.
“We feel so blessed and touched by this veteran group,” said Lorena Reyes, a teacher dressed in full elf garb. “They too, are facing many hardships and challenges due to COVID-19, but still, they overcame their challenges and somehow were able to get the gifts for our students.”
Chapter president Elias Camacho said their group, which has traditionally donated gifts in the past for children, started this new tradition last year to help the Roberts community. Tiny bicycles and wrapped gifts lined part of the parking lot ready to give the children some Christmas cheer.
“Our members feel in love with it and we hope to continue doing it,” he said, in between handing out gifts as parents drove by. “One amazing thing that sticks out is that when we saw the list of what the children were asking for, one of the children wanted a U.S. flag. That really hit our hearts being military. A 5-year-old child wanting a U.S. flag. You don’t hear about that. It’s amazing.”
And while many didn’t want to risk shopping amid the pandemic, the vets got family members to help shop for toys or bought online to make sure the kids had a gift this Christmas
“They all joined together as they did in war and accomplished their mission,” Reyes said, explaining that this might be the only gift they receive this Christmas. “We just can’t thank these veterans enough. They fought for us then and continue to serve our country and our community, even at their age. So, touching.”
Roberts holiday festivities continued on Friday when EPISD Trustee Freddy Klayel-Avalos visited the campus to distribute 50 turkey and 50 hams to parents in the community.