Kids on the nice list can look forward to receiving a gift during the 15th annual Niños Navideños on Dec. 21. After 14 years of the providing Del Rioans a memorable experience, event organizers prepare for the upcoming event and look forward to receiving help from the community.
Niños Navideños President Claudio Sotelo wants to continue giving Del Rioans a joyful experience. Planning for the event started late this year, but Sotelo and the chairpersons are looking forward to providing a festive afternoon for local children.
“We’re starting late … but we still have enough time to work on this,” Sotelo said.
Children will be able to enjoy a snack, games and a visit from a special guest. Sotelo and members of the event could not reveal who the guest is, but it was mentioned the guest is someone very jolly.
Each child will receive one toy during the event. This year the event will take place in the afternoon at the Del Rio Civic Center.
In previous years, over 1,000 children have each received a toy through the event. Last year, the event was only able to provide toys for approximately 500 children, due to the amount of donations received, Sotelo said.
Donated toys come in all shapes and sizes to the group, according to Sotelo. “There are some people that give us small toys and we don’t mind. We can take those, put them in a bag and we can make a bag with the small toys,” Sotelo said.
The cost of the donation doesn’t matter to the group, as long as they can give a child a toy.
Many organizations come together and donate to the cause, with the organizations choosing to remain anonymous or not Niños Navideños member Linda Corbell said.
School organizations, such as Del Rio High School Student Council and Career and Technical Education groups, donate to the cause as well, Corbell said.
One of the student groups that continues to remain consistent with yearly donations is the Del Rio High School Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps TX-66, according to Corbell.
It’s an event that’s come full circle; current high school students previously attended the event to receive a toy and now give out the toys, according to Corbell.
The event has become a tradition for Del Rioans and it is a success due to the community’s involvement, according to the group.
“We need the community’s help. Help us make someone’s Christmas a happy one,” Alida Helgerman, Niños Navideños chairperson, said.
Del Rioans are advised to take into consideration the donations are age appropriate for children between the ages of 6 months to 10 years old. While there is some leeway with toys for children between the ages of 11 to 12, the primary focus is for children younger than 11-years-old.
Toy donations for the event are being accepted from now until Dec. 16. Del Rioans looking to donate a toy can drop it off at Quad Counties’s office located on 1401 Las Vacas St.
Locals unable to drop off a toy, due to extenuating circumstances, can contact the office at (830) 774 7411 and someone will pick up the donation for them.