Gathering everything from teddy bears to canned vegetables, schools across the San Gabriel Valley have been helping the less fortunate.
Employees of the Mountain View School District, which serves parts of El Monte and South El Monte, collected about 100 teddy bears for poor children. The custodial department bagged the most, rounding up more than 30 bears in two days.
"Our department has decided to make this an annual challenge, and our goal for next year has been set at 60 teddy bears," said Tony Barajas, custodial supervisor.
Over 10 days, 24 seniors at Los Altos High School in Hacienda Heights organized a food drive and collected more than a ton of food for poor families. The effort, which ended Dec. 14, began with a class discussion in an honors government seminar, teacher Richard Kraft said.
"In this era when students are so often condemned for their lack of caring," Kraft said, the "students not only got involved personally, they involved an entire school--students, administrators, teachers and the classified workers. They became active and participating citizens who will make a difference for many this holiday season."
The Head Start program that serves Hacienda La Puente Unified School District provided a Christmas party for underprivileged children. On Tuesday, The Hop, a 1950s nightclub in Industry, was host to 263 preschoolers for a party of pizza, cake and ice cream. Guest attractions included a costumed turtle, a balloon man and puppeteers.
The event was organized by Costco Wholesale in Industry, and merchants in the area donated toys or food. The Los Angeles County Fire Department brought Santa Claus to the party in a firetruck.
When it was over, the children weren't the only ones smiling, said Olivia Krok, community liaison for Head Start. "I had parents who came up to me and said if it hadn't been for Head Start, their kids wouldn't have received a nice gift for Christmas."