The Christmas spirit is evident around the central San Joaquin Valley this month in many ways.
At the Fresno County Jail on Friday, Correctional Officer Patricia Araujo presented toys collected by jail staff members to provide to the Salvation Army for distribution to children in need, sheriff’s spokesman Tony Botti said. The Fresno County Public Safety Association purchased nearly 20 of the donated gifts.
Araujo is glad to take part because she remembers how grateful she was as a child to receive gifts from the program when her family was having financial difficulties.
Others among the many instances of caring for others:
▪ Kaiser Permanente Fresno employees donated several hundred new toys and books to the Toys for Tots program and also socks, soaps, lotions and other toiletries for domestic violence victims at Marjaree Mason Center, spokeswoman Kerri Leedy said.
▪ More than 150 Tarpey Elementary School students went on a shoe-shopping trip Friday morning thanks to a $5,000 grant from Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and the generosity of Payless ShoeSource in Sierra Vista Mall, Clovis Unified announced.
▪ The 22nd annual Christmas party Saturday at Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministrieswill provide gifts, lunch, hot chocolate, Christmas cookies, free flu shots, dental screenings, warm jackets and haircuts for more than 750 low-income children and their parents.
FIRM’s partners in the annual Christmas party include Toys for Tots, California Endowment, Councilman Clint Olivier, United Japanese Christian Church, University Presbyterian Church, Clinica Sierra Vista and more than 70 volunteers.
▪ For 32 years, the Clovis Rotary Club and Clovis Police Officers Association have teamed with the Salvation Army, church groups, schools and other organizations to provide food baskets and bicycles refurbished by Pleasant Valley State Prison inmates to families in need. The families, who are pre-screened, will pick up their baskets Sunday.
▪ Members of Fresno Firefighters Local 753 will use an antique hose wagon to deliver Christmas gifts and toys Monday to 300 to 500 children at the Saint Agnes Holy Cross Center for Women. Firefighters solicit contributions from local companies, churches, hospitals and other groups to sponsor gifts, the Fresno Fire Department announced. This marks the 18th year for the toy delivery.
▪ “Operation Santa Claus,” sponsored by the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, will travel to the Marjaree Mason Center on Tuesday, distributing toys to children who are the victims of domestic violence. The Sheriff’s Foundation for Public Safety and Fresno Industrial Claims Association are supplying the toys.