VICTORVILLE – Joy filled the air at High Desert Homeless Services (HDHS) Homeless Shelter on Thursday afternoon. Young clients and other children in the community, who otherwise may not have received a gift this year lined up eagerly waiting for their turn to choose that very special toy. While on their way into the room where toys lined several large, and beautifully decorated tables, Batman greeted every child who attended. Each year Batman takes time out of his busy schedule to sign autographs, talk to, and pose for photos with children living in the shelter.
The children whispered and sat as still as possible while they waited patiently for the big event. Shelter Executive Director Jimmy Waldron, CHP officer Matt Hunt, Victorville Mayor Gloria Garcia, and the several members of the HDHS Board of Directors spoke briefly to the clients before the big event. “A lot of us have felt need and it is awesome when someone else, from the bottom of their hearts, helps out,” said Executive Director Jimmy Waldron. “That is what we try to do here at the Homeless Shelter, we do our best to help people get to that next level so they can get back into their own houses.”
CHiPs for Kids, a California Highway Patrol Toy Drive, brought 100’s of toys to the children residing at the homeless shelter as well as nearly 100 children from the community. Officer Matt Hunt expressed that the community came through, many of whom have struggled in their past, now came forward to provide toys for children in need. “So when you are back on your feet, I encourage you to pay it forward,” said Officer Hunt.
A Field Representative for 1st District Supervisor Lovingood Regina Weatherspoon-Bell presented Officer Matt Hunt with a certificate of recognition for his tireless efforts in collecting toys for children in need through CHiPs for Kids. Weatherspoon-Bell went on to speak to the crowd of High Desert Homeless Services clients with encouraging words. “You are part of a community here that loves you, that cares about you, that you are important to and we are depending on you to not only to receive but to give back,” said Weatherspoon-Bell. “You all have something of value to give back. So make next year your year to find out what that thing is and contribute to your community.”
The big event came as the children could not wait any longer. In groups, the children, some of who lost everything when becoming homeless had the difficult task of choosing that special Christmas toy. Some seemed excited, others seemed overwhelmed, but all eventually choose a toy that best suited them. Children left with Barbie dolls, remote control cars, train sets, games, skateboards, or one of many other special toys. Parents, shelter staff, board members, and all who attended wore ear-to-ear smiles watching the joy on the faces of the children. The day provided a short of escape, a sense of normalcy from the everyday struggles facing homeless men, women, and children.
The time and love put into the entire event; from the efforts of the CHP, to the volunteers who assisted, to those who decorated the shelter, and to those who contribute on a regular basis made the event a magical one. “I commend all of you for ensuring that so many children experience the joy of Christmas giving,” said Mayor Gloria Garcia.
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