Los Angeles

Clinic Is a Blessing for Underprivileged Families on Christmas

Maggie Escobar is like Santa Claus passing out toys to underprivileged families

Eighteen years ago, a health care worker got a call to help start a small toy giveaway. Today that effort has grown into a huge toy drive helping dozens of families in need during the holidays.

Maggie Escobar works for Alta Med, a community health center that provides health care to underprivileged families. What was once $100 worth of toys is now $4,000.

Santa made a special stop this year to bring toys and clothes to dozens of children at the Alta Med clinic in East Los Angeles.

"It means a lot because it's his first Christmas."

Seeing the children, many just babies, under 1 year old, is emotional.

"It is emotional because many years ago I was a parent like this who didn't have the means to purchase a toy and I thought that one day I would be able to give back and now I have that opportunity," said Escobar, who first organized the event 18 years ago.

Now the toy drive raised $10,000 this year.

"It's a blessing for the kids, for the future mothers," said Delilah Mendez, a grandmother.

"You don't know if most of these kids weren't going to have Christmas, said Desinty Harrison, thanking Alta Med.

Which is why Escobar is making it her personal mission to grow the drive year after year.

"It just touches home. It hurts. It hurts to see but it's such a joyful moment," she said. "We are going to keep going and I hope next year it's twice as big."

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