Santa Claus is real. Let me just start with that. There’s nothing like opening a gift that comes from him. It’s wrapped in unfamiliar Christmas paper. Nothing like what you spied on in the hallway closet after Thanksgiving or in the trunk of your mom’s car. It shimmers and shines with a bow that’s bigger than all the rest. You missed it at first, hiding patiently in that spot deep inside the tree. Clearly, this one is unique and has traveled far. Give it a little shake and it makes a mysterious thump. It’s not pajamas or a new scarf. No, not this one. This is a toy! You might be the kind of kid that rips it right open, shredding and pulling without hesitation. Not me. I savor every moment and every curl of red-gold ribbon. I check all its sides and admire how special it is. I do my best to preserve this holiday magic because I’m wise enough to know it eventually runs dry. The edges are tightly taped and I can see the Elves do nice work. I start to peel back the glorious paper to reveal a brown box. I pop it open and look with wonder. No matter what’s inside, I am amazed. I’m just a kid. So, I don’t notice subtle things like the look of joy on my parents’ faces as I open that last present. I don’t catch their smirky grins and twinkling, tired eyes. All grown-up now, I finally understand that giving is the real spirit of Christmas.
A gift given to a child during the holidays can be a life-changing moment, not only for the child, but for you. I’ve been orchestrating the Don’s Mobile Glass Christmas Shopping Tour for 4 years. While the presents we give to these children are not wrapped or hidden under a tree, what we do during the Christmas Shopping Tour is entirely filled with the spirit of Christmas.
On the first Wednesday of December, every year for 44 years, we create a little magic for some of the most deserving kids in our community.
To date we’ve taken 4,107 kids shopping!
We work tirelessly from October through that first week of December to find kids from all around the Modesto City School District. Teachers, teacher’s aids, school counselors and parents come together from El Vista Elementary, Robertson Road Elementary, Empire Elementary, Martone Elementary, Orville Wright Elementary, Tuolumne Elementary, and The Salvation Army/Red-Shield of Modesto to select children that not only work hard academically and follow their school’s values, but do so in the midst of unimaginable hardship.
When the day finally came this December 5th, 2018, 74 children and sponsors met at El Vista Elementary before heading to JCPenney at Vintage Fair Mall, Target and Kohls in Riverbank. There, sponsors help children shop for much needed winter clothes, shoes, and a toy.
Shopping is hectic and we want to thank JCPenney for their contribution of over 100 back packs, lunch bags, and offering our shoppers a special discount. Following their trips to the mall and other places around town, everyone is treated to a festive dinner and choir performance by Downey High School held at The Century in downtown Modesto. Santa himself even makes a final appearance before the night is over. It’s a one-of-a-kind event that captures the holiday magic we all try so hard to create during this time of year.
Participating in this spectacle has been one of the most challenging experiences in my career. It has tested my diligence, accuracy and management like nothing else has before. It is an emotional experience from beginning to end and I am honored to be part of it. What I have accomplished in my minuscule four years is nothing in comparison to the people who have contributed since the beginning, nearly a half-century ago.
I am excessively grateful to Vicki Hernandez, Corina Malagon, David Leach, Steve Mort, Clint Mort and all of the other folks that jump through enormous hoops to make the Shopping Tour possible, a list that is too long to mention here. I am especially grateful to Don Monaco for his creativity and his capacity to imagine such a thing as a Christmas Shopping Tour. His small gesture of giving-back has reignited the spirit of giving inside me and I hope it continues to live forever inside all of you. Merry Christmas!!
Marketing Manager, Don’s Mobile Glass
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