TSC spreads holiday cheer with annual toy drive, distribution

The children of Bruce Aiken Elementary School in Brownsville sat crisscross applesauce with anticipation for a visit from Santa who with a bundle of toys from Texas Southmost College gave each child a gift they could put under their tree.

Toy distribution events like the one recently held at Aiken Elementary is an annual tradition for TSC through its Angel Tree Toy Drive that runs from the end of November through mid-December.

Donations are taken to different schools each year that serve a large low-income population.

This year nearly 300 toys were collected and distributed thanks to donations made by the TSC community – Board of Trustees, faculty, staff and students.

TSC Student Life spearheads the event every year, and Director of Student Development and Retention Virginia Sandoval said every year is a success because the TSC community always comes through with donations.

“This year we not only met, but exceeded our goal,” said Sandoval. “This is possible because our community always ensures that children in our community have a happy holiday season.”

Sandoval added that the true reward of each toy drive is seeing the excitement on each child’s face as they visit with Santa and receive their toy.

“Joy, a lot of joy…there is no other way to describe the feeling inside the room when we distribute these toys,” she said. “Each child’s smile is so vibrant, and they genuinely appreciate what they are being given. It’s a beautiful site to see.”

The event was made possible with the help of TSC student volunteers and staff, TSC Board of Trustee Delia Saenz and TSC President Jesus Rodriguez. Even Santa, played by TSC Admission Specialist John Cadena, is an alumnus of Bruce Aiken Elementary School.

“I never thought I would step foot inside this building again,” he said with a jolly ho-ho-ho. “It was great being back where it all started. From the kids’ smiles to their hugs, the entire event was so heartwarming. I hope everyone of these kids has a wonderful holiday.”

Bruce Aiken Elementary School Principal Dora Fasci-Marquez said toy donations are sought every year because for many of the children, this keeps the magic of the holiday alive.

“We are so grateful and thankful to TSC for doing this for our students,” she said. “They are all so excited and happy, and unfortunately, for a lot of them, this will be their only gift. This has been a wonderful act of kindness and a wish come true for all of us.”

Sandoval said one of TSC’s goals is to serve its community, and this is one of many events that is hosted as a way to give back.

“At TSC, we know how important it is to help each other,” she said. “We look forward to the new year as we continue to serve, and Angel Tree is one that we plan on hosting for many years to come.”