First Grader's Letter to Santa Sparks School-Wide Blanket Drive

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EDINBURG – A Monte Cristo Elementary school assignment became a Valley-wide initiative when one student asked for basic necessities for Christmas. The students were instructed to write a letter to Santa with needs and wants.

The letter read,

"Dear Santa Claus, 

I have binde [sic] good this day. This Christmas I would like a ball and a food. I need a blanket."

First-grader Crystal Pacheco's plea to Saint Nick for basic necessities was heard around the Valley. Word spread after her teacher Ruth Espiricueta posted a photo of the letter to Santa on social media.

"When she asked for a blanket it just broke my heart and it made me realize that some of these kids don't have anything to stay warm at night," said Espiricueta. "Or they sleep on the floor."

As word spread people started showing up to the elementary school with donations in hand. The school's leaders decided to organize a blanket drive. Hundreds of blanket donations poured in from across the Valley.

Cristina Rodriguez was one of the many Valley residents to donate blankets and other items to the children.

Rodriguez went to Monte Cristo Elementary as a child.

"To see that they don't have not even a blanket or food it breaks me," said Rodriguez with tears collecting in her eyes. "It breaks my heart."

After speaking to Crystal's mother, we learned she was thinking about much more than herself when writing to Santa.

"She wrote the card thinking about her brother, she said she wanted the ball to play with him, food to have food at the house and a blanket because the house is too cold," said her mother, Maria Isabel Cortez.

Crystal had a special message for Saint Nick.

"Thank you for the presents," said Pacheco.

The school will hand out the donations next week. At last report, the school has collected 615 blankets. Their goal is 724.

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