LANCASTER – Amira Jackson, Amari Black and Devonte Smith were all smiles Tuesday afternoon, when a Lancaster sheriff’s deputy showed up with gifts just in time for Christmas.
The youngsters were three of six children in the Sienna Heights apartment who received toys from the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station, according to Community Relations deputy Miguel Ruiz.
“We’re trying to help out families who are in desperate need during this time of year,” Ruiz said.
This holiday season, the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station collected more than 600 toys and 441 food items as part of its annual Holiday Food and Toy Drive, Ruiz said. The donations came from sheriff’s deputies and personnel at the station, as well as city staff and residents, Ruiz added.
“We had donation points at City Hall, at Lancaster Station, and we had a toy drive on The BLVD at BeX,” Ruiz said. “Most of the toys were distributed amongst different charitable organizations.”
Ruiz hand-delivered presents on Monday to children in the pediatric ward at Antelope Valley Hospital and to children at the Valley Oasis Domestic Violence Shelter. On Tuesday, Ruiz personally delivered gifts to two households in Lancaster and Lake Los Angeles.
“I feel pretty fortunate just to see the smiles on the kids’ faces and bring them some happiness for the holiday season,” Ruiz said.
“This is like a big surprise, a beautiful blessing!” said Valentina Rowe, when deputy Ruiz stopped by her Sienna Heights apartment. “We didn’t have that much for Christmas, so it’s always good to be able to give the kids something to smile about.”
Lancaster sheriff’s deputies will continue to spread cheer through Christmas Day, Ruiz said.
“On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, deputies out on patrol are going to have toys,” Ruiz said. “When they respond to a situation where children are involved, maybe a family member was arrested or some other traumatic situation, the deputies will hand out toys.”
“We just want to wish everybody a happy and safe holiday season,” Ruiz added.