By Staff Reports
(Apple Valley)– Christmas came to Yermo a week early this year, thanks to the efforts of the California Highway Patrol – Barstow station, CHiPs4Kids, Liberty Utilities and the Yermo School, who teamed-up to bring fun, snacks and toys to hundreds of children and their families. “Programs like this bring a community together – especially during the holidays,” said Kate Henson, principal of Yermo School.
Last night, festive elves – volunteers from the various program sponsors – welcomed children and their families at Yermo school, which had been transformed into a holiday wonderland with Christmas music, toys, snacks and, of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus. Once the families checked in, the elves gave each of the kids a raffle ticket for a new bike and gave the parents a raffle ticket for a food gift card. While the parents were served hot coffee and snacks, the elves helped each child choose a toy from the huge selection. After receiving their toy and some new warm clothing, many of the kids took photos with Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Then came the raffle drawings, in which 148 excited children received new bicycles and toys, and 24 parents received $100 grocery gift cards. By the end of the evening, more than 100 local families participated in the festivities.
To make the Christmas event a success, more than 40 volunteers were on hand from the CHP, citizens on patrol, Yermo School and Liberty Utilities. Kaye Walraven, a volunteer from Liberty Utilities, said, “I’m fortunate to work for a company that’s a community partner and encourages its employees to participate in these types of activities. The children had a wonderful time and I’m happy to have been a part of it.”
According to Sgt. Joaquin Zubieta of the CHP, the party was months in planning. “The CHP takes great pride in always giving back to the communities we serve.” Tom Schibusch of CHiPs4Kids said, “This event touched a lot of kids’ lives, but I’m not sure who was more excited, the kids or the volunteers.”