LODI, Calif. (KTXL) — For the last three decades, Lodi Adopt-A-Child has provided thousands of toys and other gifts to kids in low-income families for the holidays.
While some changes are still in place because of COVID-19, the organization said their goal of making Christmas special is still the same.
“It’s just it’s a blessing. A huge blessing,” said Natalie Guthrie.
This year, Guthrie, a mother of two, is just one of hundreds of parents who needed the extra help to ensure her kids have a toy to unwrap under the tree.
“Knowing that I don’t have to stress over a toy,” she told FOX40. “I can worry about, you know, maybe an extra pair of shoes or more Pull-Ups for my son or extra snacks in the cupboard that they like.”
Guthrie said knowing her kids will get a gift doesn’t just save her money but gives her peace of mind.
“Overwhelmed with joy and I feel the love from other people to know that there’s other people out there who want to give,” she said. “It’s awesome. It’s so awesome.”
Each child will get clothes, shoes and a toy for Christmas.
“If we weren’t here, a lot of these kids wouldn’t get a Christmas,” said Lodi Adopt-A-Child President Craig Troxclair.
This year, Troxclair said his nonprofit is bringing the joy of the holidays to 731 children. That’s 50 more than in 2020.
Sponsors pick Angel Cards to “adopt a child” and buy them presents, which include everything from bikes, board games and books.
“For 31 years, the Lodi community has stepped up and come down and sponsored these kids,” Troxclair said.
“No child is left behind. Even the cards aren’t sponsored. We have funds donated by the Lodi community that we go out and do the shopping for those kids ourselves,” he continued.
For the second year in a row, COVID-19 has forced the organization to adapt. Gifts won’t be wrapped, the Christmas party is once again canceled and families will have to pick up their presents to take home.
But Troxclair said the changes aren’t permanent.
“Next year, we’re getting back to normal,” he told FOX40. “Santa is going to be here next year.”
Fransisca Aguilar said she became a sponsor for the kids, as well as the parents.
“It’s something that, even though they weren’t able to provide for them, they are able to share that moment with their children and Christmas is a time to be joyful. It’s very special,” Aguilar said.
Guthrie said she’s grateful her kids’ Christmas wishes will be met and has a wish of her own for every sponsor.
“I hope that people who are giving to families like mine and to other families, I hope they receive something in return,” she said. “I really hope God blesses them in one way or another, I do.”
As of Friday, there were still 90 Angel Cards that need to be picked. Gifts have to be returned to Lodi Adopt-A-Child by Sunday, Dec. 6.