FONTANA, CA – Fontana Unified, Fontana School Police Department and community members kicked off the holiday season with the first toy donations in the 22nd annual Fontana Santas Toy Drive, which aims to bring holiday cheer to families in need.

Fontana School Police Officer Cindy Evaro and district employee Lydia Wibert began Fontana Santas 22 years ago when they 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 Unified works to ensure the success and well-being of our students, an effort that extends to partnering with our community to guarantee every student can enjoy the holidays,” FUSD Superintendent Randal S. Bassett said. “Fontana Santas is a treasured tradition for Fontana Unified and we look forward to working with our community to create a special holiday experience for families in need.”

The drive has grown each year, honoring the memory of Evaro and ensuring thousands of Fontana children receive a gift during the holidays. Gifts are donated by FUSD families, teachers and staff, Fontana School Police, the Fontana Foundation of Hope, local service clubs and businesses.

This year, each Fontana Unified school will adopt a family in need who will receive gifts for their children, ranging from infants to high schoolers.

Fontana Santas will culminate with the District’s third annual community breakfast and holiday event, to be held Dec. 21 at Henry J. Kaiser High School. There, FUSD families and staff will enjoy family-friendly games created by student leaders, take pictures with Santa and be treated to a free pancake breakfast provided by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Fontana Stake).

Those interested in participating in Fontana Santas may contact the FUSD Department of Family and Community Engagement at (909) 357-5000, ext. 29409. Toy donations and gift cards will be accepted at the Fontana School Police Department and all FUSD schools until Dec. 6.