Operation Christmas RGV still distributing toys, cheer to local familiesdfwnewsa | December 27, 2023 | 0 | East Texas News , South Texas News
Emanuel Martinez still remembers the first request for help that his new nonprofit organization received. It was November 2022, and Operation Christmas RGV was, and still is, a fledgling charity whose aim is “spread hope and joy” throughout the Rio Grande Valley.
Shortly after he set up the Facebook page for the organization, it had received a message from a local woman asking for toys for her three daughters. She asked for things like dolls and other items little girls enjoy playing with as children.
“She has three girls and they’re not going to receive Christmas gifts this season, and can you help us,” Martinez recalled the message saying Wednesday. “I was like … I don’t think we can. We’re barely getting started, right? So we did the best that we could. (But) what are we going to do because this lady needs some help.”
Like a Christmas miracle, another nonprofit based out of Weslaco called Operation Christmas RGV around this time and offered them about 60 toys leftover from a toy drive. Of course, Martinez accepted the gifts on behalf of the organization and upon picking them up realized something extraordinary.
“As I’m rolling up to pick up the toys, it’s everything these little girls were asking for and we were able to give to them,” Martinez said. “And not only them but their cousins, and we were also able to give to the apartment complex in McAllen. We fulfilled that first wish on that Facebook page, and that’s something that impacted me personally.”
More than a year later, Operation Christmas RGV has grown out of its seasonal beginnings and organized giveaways and drives throughout the Valley.
Founded on Nov. 22, 2022, the organization focuses on Christmas cheer year-round and is now planning a new effort, a toy drive for Dia de los Reyes Magos.
Their Christmas toy drive gave anywhere from 90 to 100 children in the area a happy holiday, but there are still 175 toys that remain with more that could be donated by local communities and businesses.
Anyone with kids in the Valley is encouraged to pick up a toy while they last at Centro De Alabanza Y Adoracion, located at 620 E. Ridge Road in Pharr, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 6. The only requirement is that your child must be present.
But there will be more than just a toy giveaway as a traditional Rosca de Reyes will be available at the event, as well as a clown show and music.
To donate, contact Martinez by phone at (956) 855-1438 or reach out to Operation Christmas RGV via Facebook, Instagram and X (formerly known as Twitter).
The nonprofit partners with institutions and individuals, as well as through the help of their volunteers to collect toys and other items for local children. It doesn’t end there, however.
In 2023, the organization also helped feed about 100 families in the Mercedes area during Thanksgiving in addition to a back to school drive and toy drives. Martinez said he wants to expand the nonprofit’s reach and provide more resources to families in need.
“We hope to do so through partnerships to distribute food and clothing or even help with computer classes once we get an office,” he added. “Basically just generate hope for the community to make it feel like Christmas all year-round for these underserved communities.”
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