The Christmas spirit was on full display Saturday, as volunteers from Turlock Together, the Salvation Army and various other organizations teamed up to give out toys, food and clothing to needy families at the Turlock Fruit Company.
Turlock Together volunteer Tony Nascimento says enough donations came in to supply 2,200 children with one main toy and several other smaller toys. Food donations were enough to supply 1,750 families with a box of food for Christmas, as well as 300 elderly home-bound residents.
Nascimento, who is a City of Turlock firefighter, explained the joy of seeing toys being donated at fire stations.
“It was really great to see how many toys people donated. We had a 9-year-old girl who had a birthday and she decided to donate all of her toys. Seeing stuff like that is awesome. The community is so giving,” Nascimento said.
One family, the Shabazian family of Turlock who recently immigrated from Iran, received several boxes of food and they were very thankful.
“God bless them, and God bless America,” said one member of the family.
At the toy corral, dozens of volunteers from places like Sacred Heart, All-Saints Knights Club, Pitman High School, Turlock High School, Chatom 4-H and Central Valley High School picked out the toys for underprivileged kids.
Volunteer Diane Jiminez and her son Angel have been volunteering for years.
“We started when Angel was 5 and now he is 16. We just love doing this, it’s a wonderful thing for the kids and we just love helping,” said Diane.
Volunteers Melannie Babb and Sunny Nye worked the clothing table, folding and sorting out the clothes by size and type. Both of them praised the rewarding feeling and the atmosphere of generosity and compassion for those less fortunate.