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Hundreds of Monte Cristo Students Receive Blanket Donations

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EDINBURG – Hundreds of children at Monte Cristo Elementary School took home blankets thanks to donations from around the globe.

The donation drive started after Crystal Pacheco, 7, wrote a letter to Santa. The simple request went viral online.

The first grader asked for a ball, food and a blanket.

On Wednesday, donations from across the world finally made their way to the children who need them most.

Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus visited the school to hand deliver the gifts to unsuspecting children.

“Every child at Monte Cristo will be able to take home a blanket today,” said Principal Diana Smith.

This presents a unique concern for school administrators. They're fielding way more donations than they ever imagined.

This means the school’s students could go home with more than a blanket each.

Once the school makes sure every student has a gift for Christmas, they plan on sharing the donations to some of the other schools in the district.

“Because as big of campus as I am, I have no room in terms of storing blankets and things. We’re going to sort through all of the boxes and figure out what’s what,” said Smith.

The school says they’ve received about 250 boxes from UPS over the past two days.

A large part of the incoming donations is food. Monte Cristo Elementary now has enough to open a food pantry for its students.

“Any food that’s coming in, if it’s designated to just the family we’re delivering that personally to the family," said Smith. "But if it’s something that’s just kind of general, we’re creating a food pantry so we can have that when students return back in January.”

The teacher who shared Crystal’s letter to social media, Ruth Espiricueta, could hardly believe the outpouring of support for her students.

“Some person messaged me, you’re getting 28 boxes of cereal," said Espiricueta. "You’re getting some toasters! Not toasters to put the bread, it’s like a toaster that you plug and you put like a chicken or something. I’m like wow! I was happy. I wanted to cry, and the kids were like, no don’t cry! And I’m like, these are happy tears! They’re good tears.”

The school anticipates receiving gifts through winter break.

Smith and the custodial staff will be on the lookout for packages during their vacation. The school also plans to make this donation drive a yearly occurrence and name it after Crystal Pacheco.

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