Almond Elementary School Principal Tim McCaffrey officiated at the December 17 event, playing upbeat holiday music as families drove through the parking lot of the district office.
At the event, families received plush stockings, backpacks, books, school kits, a variety of non-perishable foods, stuffed animals, and more. We greeted the students by choosing toys from a sleigh full of presents.
“Fontana Santa is a very special tradition of the Fontana Unified School District and we are honored to be a part of this effort to bring holiday cheer to families in need,” said interim superintendent of the school district. As one Juan M. López said: news release.
The event was the culmination of the school district’s annual Toy Drive, where employees, students, families and community groups collect donations.
According to a news release, Fontana Santa began 25 years ago when Fontana school police officer Cindy Evalo and district employee Lydia Wybert learned that a young Fontana boy had run away from home after Christmas. The Evalo, Wibert and Fontana school police then collected toys and donations from local organizations and delivered them to the students during the holidays.
Weibert and relatives of Evalo, who passed away in 2014, were among the many volunteers who participated in this year’s event. Santa and Mrs. Claus led the volunteers in a “Cupid Shuffle” dance between handing out presents.
Fontana Santas are held in partnership with the Fontana School Police Department, Fontana Teachers Association, United Steelworkers Local 8599, Fontana Foundation of Hope, Fontana School PoliceOfficers Association, and Fontana Management Association.
Volunteers included members of the Fontana Middle School affiliated student body. A law enforcement student at Fontana High School. Video production students and baseball and softball student-athletes at Summit High School. District Family and Community Engagement Department staff. Fontana Unified Marketing, Communications and Engagement Team. district executive cabinets; school board members; principals and district administrators;
Community partners included Foundation of Hope, who provided toys, donations, volunteers, and use of buildings in preparation for the event. Inland SoCal United Way donated books and backpacks full of school supplies. God’s Pantry, which provided boxes of food for families. Santa Claus Inc., Crafts Unlimited, TEC Equipment, Fontana Boxing Club, OPR Communications, Walmart and CanAM Dental all provided various toys, gifts and other donations.
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