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By Eloisa Gonzales                                      Follow East Palo Alto Today on
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Friday, December 21, 2012                
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  Families and Santa Elf outside of San Mateo Credit Union in East Palo Alto        Photo of Santa at the San Mateo Credit Union in East Palo Alto, CA
  Photos from the San Mateo Credit Union's Santa event for children which was
  held in East Palo Alto on December 8, 2012. Click each image to enlarge

Ho!  Ho!  Ho! Santa’s visit to the San Mateo Credit Union’s East Palo Alto branch was apparently a big hit for kids and adults alike.  There were lines of families eager to take pictures with Santa.  

Many proud parents gladly claimed their kids’ pictures while the children were excited by the coupons and toys donated by the Baskin Robbins and Sports Authority, neighboring businesses in East Palo Alto's 101 Ravenswood Shopping Center.

The children received good smelling pencils, discount coupons from Baskin Robbins and toys from Sports Authority.  Parents received the East Palo branch anniversary flyer while waiting in line for their pictures.  Every 30 minutes, Lourdes Carini, the branch manager at SMCU’s East Palo Alto branch, announced the winners of the raffle prizes, many of which were donated by other merchants in the center.

Business was bustling in the entire Ravenswood Shopping center. 
Willie Moore, the neighborhood photographer for the event took pictures of over 200 families. His picture taking brought giggles and smiles to many of the 500 kids who came to see Santa. 

Several dedicated volunteers groups like the Kids from the Bayshore Kiwanis Club, represented by Arnold Hart and the Bay Christian Ministry Youth, led by Jesse Huro, helped make Santa’s visit the success it was.
SMCU’s East Palo Alto Santa event, which occurred on December 8 was organized by Carini with the support of Marie McKenzie, who is the City of East Palo Alto’s representative for economic development First Source Hiring and local business enterprise programs.

Much thanks went to SMCU staffers, Cynthia Held, Rand Shamas, Johnny Escalante, PX Floro-Carrasco, for all of their efforts in making the event possible.

A huge thank you was given to the good-hearted Santa, Ruben Olagues, the credit union's teller, who patiently wore the Santa suit for 5 hours entertaining kids and bringing smiles to one and all.

For many of the community’s families and for the children, especially, it was a magical day to remember.


Eloisa Gonzales, the author of this article, is a member of the AVP-Branch Management. For more information, contact epatoday@epatoday.org.