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By Henrietta J. Burroughs                Follow East Palo Alto Today on
East Palo Alto Today                                       Facebook    Twitter         Blog    
December 23, 2013                           
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Kids are entertained at JobTrain's Winter Wonderland
                               Photo courtesy of EPA Today
This photo shows Alonzo Emery entertaining
children at JobTrain's Winter Wonderland 2013.


  Children with toy bears at the East Palo Alto Library              Toys at the East Palo Alto Police Toy Giveaway
Photo courtesy of the San Mateo                        Photo courtesy of Dany Cesena
County Probation Department
                  Children select toys at the East Palo Alto
Chris McClure speaks with                     Police Department toy giveaway on
children as they receive toy bears          December 21, 2013.
at the East Palo Alto Library.



Hundreds of East Palo Alto children will have gifts this Christmas thanks to the generosity and efforts of local agencies and businesses.

For the eighth year, JobTrain, a nonprofit agency in Menlo Park, held its fun-filled Winter Wonderland. The event, which was held on Friday, December 20, offered face painting, coloring, a special toy raffle and other fun activities for the children of the parents who use JobTrain’s services.

Thanks to local businesses such as TE Connectivity, the San Mateo Credit Union, Bay Network, Geoffrey’s Diamond & Goldsmith, Hewlett Packard, the Four Seasons Hotel, Flagship and Stanford University Athletics, the Winter Wonderland event served 135 children.

Rosalyn C. Thomas, the service delivery manager for TE Connectivity's IT Division, said her company's employees donated gifts for 75 kids and gave $2,500 in cash to support the event. Facebook donated the cookies that were given away.

All the kids who attended had a chance to sit on Santa’s lap and give him their personal gift list.

Later in the evening, the East Palo Alto Library allowed children another opportunity to visit with Santa. One hundred ninety-five children received a free ticket to the library’s holiday event and walked away with a stuffed toy bear after they met with Santa.

The bears were made by women inmates in the San Mateo County jails.

The library also offered Folkloric Dancing and a Tamale Festival that was attended by at least 50 people.

The very next morning on Saturday, December 21, the East Palo Alto Police Department held its annual toy giveaway for needy families. East Palo Alto Police Sergeant D. Carson said that the department served three hundred families and distributed over two thousand Christmas gifts.

When the toy giveaway ended, there were approximately one thousand leftover toys. Carson said the majority of the toys will be taken to the Ecumenical Hunger Program for the agency’s staff to give away to needy families, and individual police officers will keep some of the toys in their cars until Christmas to give out at their discretion as they go on calls. 

Carson said that the East Palo Alto Police Department wants the city's residents to know that it is a working partner that is ready to serve the community.

Reach the author of this article, Henrietta J. Burroughs, at epatoday@epatoday.org. Jane Theresa Jones also contributed to the above article.