For the fifth consecutive year, students from the MEChA Club at Santa Monica High School will distribute new toys to children in area elementary schools Dec. 20 and 21.
The MEChA Club, a Latino student organization that also raises money for scholarships and provides Easter baskets for children at area hospitals, collects toys from students and teachers at the school. Last year about 200 toys were distributed, according to Rose Marie de la Pena, who teaches English as a second language at the school and is one of two sponsors of the group.
The toys are scheduled to be distributed to the following schools: Thomas Edison, McKinley, Will Rogers, John Muir and the Ocean Park Boulevard Children's Center.
De la Pena said that what the students are doing provides positive role models at a time when the Latino community is often portrayed negatively in the media.
"We need to give the Latino community positive images because of all the negative publicity that is usually given to our community," she said.