LANCASTER – Off-duty California Highway Patrol officers, their spouses, and volunteers worked together to provide some much-needed holiday cheer for nearly 30 local families Monday night.
The group served up a delicious, home-cooked holiday meal to 28 adults and 56 children, staying at the Valley Oasis Shelter, as part of the CHP’s annual Domestic Violence Dinner.
“Every year our officers look forward to doing this, to giving these families just a momentary relief from what they might be going through at the moment,” said CHP Captain Steve Urrea.
“They got out of a bad situation, now they’re on their way to getting on their feet, so we want to put some smiles on their faces and give these people hope,” said CHP Officer Gil Hernandez.
Officers, their spouses and volunteers cooked many of the dishes in the meal, which included turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, yams, green beans, macaroni and cheese, and salad.
Miss Antelope Valley Shannon Gonzales and Junior Miss Antelope Valley Tori Gonzales also attended the event and led the children in a sing-along of Jingle Bell.
During the sing-along, the children received a surprise visit from the North Pole. Santa Claus handed out gifts to all the good boys and girls, as well as their parents.
“Some of the toys are donated from the CHiPS for Kids program,” said Hernandez. “And Sam’s Club has partnered with us to give presents to both the adults and the children.”
A Valley Oasis Shelter resident who attended the event said she hadn’t seen her 8-year-old son this happy in a very long time.
”My son has been through so much, but tonight he is eating and laughing and he’s all excited,” the woman said. “Just to see that little light in his eyes again means so much to me, I’m just in awe.”
Representatives from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Specials Victims Unit also attended the event to provide support for the families.