Chaffey College distributes 230 holiday gifts to students in need | News

Chaffey College sociology major Erica Alaniz dreams of one day becoming an advocate for domestic violence survivors.

It’s a dream that has kept her going despite facing the financial hurdles of the pandemic, raising two young children by herself and losing a close family member to suicide in November.

But pushing through these challenges has made it difficult to give her children a merry Christmas.

Thanks to a toy drive hosted by Chaffey College to benefit the children of in-need students, Alaniz’s children — 4-year-old Emiliano and Priciliana, 11— got some holiday cheer.

“Just the fact that my school does stuff like this is amazing,” the Ontario woman said. “It makes my kids feel like they haven’t been forgotten.”

Chaffey College handed out 230 wrapped presents to more than 100 students during a drive-thru event at the Rancho Cucamonga campus on Dec. 20.

The toy drive benefitted students who are registered with Chaffey’s Panther Care, Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) and CalWORKs programs, which provide students with various support services including specialized counseling and advocacy.

Panther Care Program Manager Prentice Harris said the annual toy drive provides joy not only to the children receiving the gifts, but also the staff handing them out.

“By giving holiday gifts to students with children, we’re sending a message of hope and cheering them up for the holidays during these tough times,” Harris said.

Donations from numerous community partners made the event possible. Donors included P-Luvz Helping Hands Foundation, Volunteers Inland Empire, Chaffey Joint Union High School District and RE/MAX Time Realty on Route 66.

Paula Love, CEO of the Fontana-based P-Luvz Helping Hands Foundation, said she was happy to help out Chaffey students and their children.

“I know it’s needed,” Love said. “I just want to see some smiles on their faces because they’re going through so much during this pandemic. To see babies going through this, it breaks my heart.”

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