Fontana Unified School District families receive gifts, food and more at Fontana Santas event – San Bernardino Sun

Fontana Unified School District elementary school students and their families received holiday gifts, food and more at the district’s 25th annual Fontana Santas event.

Tim McCaffrey, principal of Almond Elementary School, served as master of ceremonies at the Dec. 17 event, playing upbeat holiday music as families drove through the school district office parking lot.

At the event, families received stuffed stockings, backpacks, books and school kits, a variety of non-perishable food items, stuffed animals and more. The final stop was a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, who greeted students as volunteer elves selected toys from a sleigh full of gifts.

“Fontana Santas is a very special tradition in Fontana Unified School District, and I am honored that I could be part of this effort to bring some holiday cheer to families in need,” Juan M. López, the district’s interim superintendent, said in a news release.

The event was the culmination of the school district’s annual toy drive, in which employees, students, families and community organizations gather donations.

Fontana Santas began 25 years ago when Fontana School Police Officer Cindy Evaro and district employeeLydia Wibert learned a Fontana boy ran away from home after Christmas because he did not receive anypresents, according to the news release. After that, Evaro, Wibert and Fontana School Police collected toys and donations from local organizations and delivered them to students during the holidays.

Wibert and relatives of Evaro, who died in 2014, were among the many volunteers at this year’s event. In between handing out gifts, Santa and Mrs. Claus led the volunteers in dancing to “Cupid Shuffle.”

Fontana Santas is held in partnership with the Fontana School Police Department, Fontana Teachers Association, United Steelworkers Local 8599, the Fontana Foundation of Hope, Fontana School PoliceOfficers Association and the Fontana Management Association.

Volunteers included Fontana Middle School Associated Student Body members; Fontana High School’s law enforcement students; Summit High School video production students and baseball and softball student-athletes; staff from the district’s Family and Community Engagement Department; the Fontana Unified marketing, communication and engagement team; the district’s executive cabinet; Board of Education members; and school principals and district administrators.

Community partners included the Foundation of Hope, which provided toys, donations, volunteers and use of their building to prepare for the event; Inland SoCal United Way, which donated books and backpacks full of school supplies; God’s Pantry, which provided families with boxes of food; and Santa Claus Inc., Crafts Unlimited, TEC Equipment, the Fontana Boxing Club, OPR Communications, Walmart and CanAM Dental, all of which provided a variety of toys, gifts and other donations.

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