A thousand miles. A thousand gifts. A thousand smiles.
It began in earnest a few months ago. My son made contact, through the boy scouts, with the Mesa Rotary club. For the past quarter century they've been bringing Christmas to orphanages in Guaymas, Mexico.
When he asked what he could do to help- they told him to gather presents... as many as he could.
With the help of his friend, Tanner, they made a door-to-door plea within a square mile of our residence.
Together they managed to collect over a thousand gifts. Members of the Rotary club collected additional toys and candy.
These items were loaded into the planes of several volunteers. They came from Arizona and nearby states... each offering time and resources to bring Christmas to those with challenges.
We drove down to Guaymas and were quite overwhelmed by what we saw. There are four schools for children with special needs... each one has over 200 students.
Chandler and Tanner had managed to gather enough toys for everyone.
The event began with balloons... then Santa arrived. The students lined up for toys... one side for boys- the other for girls.
Each student was given a voucher good for one present.
Chandler and Tanner would hold up several bags and ask which one they wanted most.
One girl was confused by this. When she was asked again "which one would you like?" - she said, "It's not for me... it's for my teacher."
It was just one of many touching moments. She had decided to forgo her own gift for someone important. Is not this the spirit of the occasion?
The act of giving trumping that of receiving?
Two teens asked their neighbors for help... and the neighbors came through. They helped these boys take part in a glorious holiday that we'll never forget.
Here are some more pictures of the event:
Santa makes his entrance... the crowd goes wild.
At the doorway to one classroom was this sign, which, roughly translated, teaches this great lesson:
"The disabled have the capacity to be extraordinarily capable."
Each child waited patiently for his and her turn to pick out a present.
Boys chose from a variety of items such as soccer balls, toy cars and trucks. The girls were excited about the dolls, stuffed animals and princess accessories.
The items that seemed to be most in demand were coloring books and crayons. They enjoyed creating some instantaneous artwork.
It was a humbling experience to see that the gifts that were so freely given by our neighbors were very well received. It's a shame they couldn't see the reaction as each child received a gift.
Many thanks go to the good people of the Mesa Arizona Downtown Rotary club, the generous contributors of Friendly Cove, Forest Knoll and the Harris Park neighborhoods as well as the pilots and volunteers at Falcon Field and Stellar Air Park. They all made it possible for the Boy Scouts to join the fine volunteers in Guaymas- all the teachers as well as the Mayor and members of DIF Guaymas- the organization that coordinated local events.