The Fontana Unified School District kicked off its 25th annual Fontana Santas toy drive at the Nov. 2 Board of Education meeting when school board members, district employees and Santa and Mrs. Claus provided the first donations for the drive.
Fontana Santas began in 1997 when Fontana School Police Officer Cindy Evaro and district employee Lydia Wibert learned a Fontana boy ran away from home after Christmas because he did not receive any presents, according to a news release.
Evaro, Wibert and the Fontana School Police Department collected toys and donations from local organizations and delivered them to students during the holidays, creating a tradition that has provided toys to thousands of Fontana school district students over the past 25 years.
The school district partners in the Fontana Santas program with the Fontana School Police Department, Fontana Teachers Association, United Steelworkers Local 8599, the Fontana Foundation of Hope, Fontana School Police Officers Association and the Fontana Management Association.
Donations of unwrapped toys and gift cards can be dropped off at the Fontana School Police Department, 9680 Citrus Ave., Building 9, Fontana. Donations will also be accepted at all Fontana Unified School District campuses. Those interested in participating in Fontana Santas may also contact Beulah Plata at 909-357-5000, ext. 29570.
The Fontana Santas toy drive will culminate with a drive-through distribution event, to be held Dec. 17 at the district office for families in need, identified by school sites. The event will include holiday decorations, festively dressed volunteers and holiday music.
“Fontana Santas is a very special Fontana Unified tradition that brings employees, community organizations and residents together for a festive purpose,” Juan M. López, interim superintendent of the Fontana Unified School District, said in the news release. “We are thankful for the generous spirit of our community and the continued support in giving a memorable holiday experience to Fontana Unified families.”