Industrial Workers distribute toys to less fortunate children (Video)
Zariah Valderrama and her brothers' faces lit up as Santa entered the room with a bowl of candy and other treats. They were among the children gathered in the Catholic War Veterans hall for the Industrial Workers Toy Drive on Saturday.
"I got to see Santa Claus two times this year," Zariah said. The 6-year-old had her nails painted red - her favorite color - by volunteers giving all the girls manicures.
In addition to meeting Santa Claus and opening presents, the children had the option to get their face painted and eat pizza donated by the CWV Post 1269.
In 2010, the Industrial Workers began asking the 500 guests at their annual dance to bring a gift to donate to a less fortunate child.
"Since it was such a success last year, we went to different businesses and organizations and asked them to donate cash and toys as well," said Linda Galvan, who organized the event. "We also had a raffle to raise funds to purchase things for the older children."
Children were selected from Hopkins Academy, Mitchell Guidance Center and the Boys and Girls Club to receive presents Saturday from the Industrial Workers Toy Drive held at the CWV building on South Main Street.
About 82 children signed up to receive gifts from the drive. Galvan and her daughter delivered gifts on Thursday to homes of about 20 children who were unable to attend the event because they lacked transportation or because their parents worked on Saturday.
Many of the older children requested perfume, cologne, deodorant, toiletries and other necessities Galvan said.
"One family was homeless. They were living out of their car," Galvan said.
In addition to toiletries, donations covered Barbies, bikes, trucks, games and other toys.
Each of the children received presents wrapped specifically for them, but they also participated in a raffle for extra presents displayed on a table in the hall.