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Santa’s Exchange Gives the Gift of Christmas Joy to Children in Fort Bend County

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What will Santa bring me this year?

Children everywhere ask themselves that question as they lay in bed on Christmas Eve.  The anticipation of waking up and finding toys under the Christmas tree creates excitement and joy in every child.

But what if there were no toys?  How do children feel on Christmas Eve when their family cannot afford to buy toys?

That is a grim reality for many children.  Surprisingly, many families living right here in Fort Bend County do not have the resources to provide a gift for their children.

“The thought of a child not getting a Christmas gift breaks my heart.” said Rick Bell who chairs the Santa’s Exchange committee.   “Santa’s Exchange is an effort of many charitable organizations and individuals seeking to provide Christmas to families in need.  It is a combined effort of the Exchange Club of Sugar Land, Toys for Tots, Rotary Club of Sugar Land, Exchange Club of Fort Bend, and Carolyn Tarver.  These organizations raise money and collect toys to provide Christmas presents to children that would not otherwise receive one.  Last year, nearly 5,000 children in Fort Bend received at least three presents each from the Santa’s Exchange event.”

Each school in Fort Bend ISD participates in the event, along with many local businesses and hospitals.  Last year, most of the schools in Lamar Consolidated also agreed to help.  Participating in the event is a great what to teach students and children to have a heart for others and experience the joy of giving.  At last year’s event, nearly 1,000 volunteers helped make sure the event ran smoothly.

There is a lot of work leading up to the event.  Toys are collected, sorted and tagged according to their value.  When the families arrive, the children are escorted to see Santa and play games.  While the children are playing, the parents select three toys for each of their children with the assistance of a volunteer elf.  It is very similar to shopping at a local store.  After the parents complete their shopping, the gifts are bagged and they are reunited with their children.

It is a wonderful event that brings smiles to many children on Christmas morning.  If you would like to help, please consider dropping a toy at any Sugar Land Fire Station, or any local school participating in the Santa’s Exchange event.

If we continue to combine our resources and volunteering together, we can assure every child in our county will go to be wondering “What will Santa bring me this year?”

If you would like to participate in any way or get more information about the event, please feel free to email santa@ecsl.org.

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