FONTANA, CA – Fontana Unified students cheered with delight as Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and their team of festively dressed volunteers bestowed them with gifts during the District’s 24th annual Fontana Santas event.
Lively holiday music filled the air as families drove through the District office parking lot on Dec. 18, where students from Fontana Unified’s elementary schools received gifts, supplies for a holiday dinner, stuffed stockings and more. Middle- and high-school families received gifts earlier in the week.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to continue hosting our Fontana Santas event every year, bringing together our District family to ensure every student is able to celebrate and feel the holiday spirit,” Fontana Unified Superintendent Randal S. Bassett said. “Fontana Santas is a cherished tradition in our District and we are thankful to our employers, volunteers, families and community partners for their supporting in keeping this tradition alive. Through Fontana Santas, the District continues to create a memorable holiday season for our families.”
The event culminated the District’s annual toy drive, in which District employees, students, families and community organizations come together to gather donations and support Fontana Unified families in need during the holiday season.
The tradition began 24 years ago when Fontana School Police Officer Cindy Evaro and District employee Lydia Wibert learned a Fontana boy ran away from home after Christmas because he did not receive any presents. Evaro, Wibert and Fontana School Police collected toys and donations from local organizations and delivered them to students during the holidays.
Fontana Santas is hosted in partnership with the Fontana School Police Department, Fontana Teachers Association, United Steelworkers Local 8599, the Fontana Foundation of Hope, Fontana School Police Officers Association and the Fontana Management Association.
This year’s array of community partners also included Inland SoCal United Way, which donated $100 grocery store gift cards; Empowering Success Now, which provided the fixings for a holiday dinner; Coats for Kids, which brought new winter coats for children of all ages; Blue Shield of California, which donated $3,000 toward the purchase of toys and gift cards for students; as well as local veterans associations, Santa Claus Inc., Fontana Kiwanis, Fontana SkyHawks Youth Athletics, Crafts Unlimited and MasterBrand Cabinets, all of which donated toys and gifts.
FUSD_FONTANA_SANTAS1: Santa Claus greets Fontana Unified elementary school students during the District’s Fontana Santas toy distribution on Dec. 18.
FUSD_FONTANA_SANTAS2: After handing out toys and gifts, Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus bid farewell to students during the 24th annual Fontana Santas toy distribution for elementary school families on Dec. 18.