Family Receives Special Christmas Gift from Local School

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MCALLEN – The Rio Grande Valley is home to the highest poverty rates in Texas. That’s according to the latest statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Many families struggle to provide on a daily basis, even more so when Christmas rolls around. But this year, some of those families are receiving some extra help to make the holiday memorable.

Southern Careers Institute is extending a helping hand and gave four families a Christmas trees. It’s the second Christmas the campus gave back to the community.

But the Pharr campus went a step further this year.

“Some of them donated… gave from their own pocket any sort of donation, $5, $1.50, anything they could give,” Sonia De La Garza, SCI Director at the Pharr campus, said.

De La Garza’s team managed to come up with $250 for Christmas decorations for the tree and for presents. The gracious gift is actually going to one of SCI’s own.

“He attended our school. He had a very successful story, but right now, he’s a single parent and we chose him because of that. Because it’s Christmas time and they struggle during this time,” she said.

The tree was decorated in a special way.

“(The) family consisted of five girls and they like Shopkins. So we tailored it towards their likings and we put together a Shopkins tree,” De La Garza said.

The gifts were wrapped by Santa’s helpers; four gifts for every girl in the family.

Santa’s sleigh took a more modern look this year, heading to the family’s house in a white truck for the special delivery.

Inside the home were Edin Rodriguez and his five girls.

The group quietly made their way into the home, putting up the tree and stacking the gift underneath it.

The family was welcomed with Christmas carols and the Christmas surprise.

Rodriguez had a smile across his face and his girls admired the Shopkins tree, picking out what they wanted to keep.

“Their favorite Shopkins. They know all the names for them, except for Haley,” Rodriguez said.

The family joined in the Christmas carols, singing along to “Jingle Bells.”

The best of all – the gifts aren’t on or under the Christmas tree but standing right beside each other.


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