Tonez Seja, Bernadette Johnson, Desiree Navarro, Laura Murphy, Zshvy Proctor, Megan Jackman and Vocational Instructor Jerrold McWilliams (in the back row).

Written by staff from San Diego Custody to Community Transitional Reentry Program

San Diego Custody to Community Transitional Reentry Program (CCTRP) clients recently made a concerted effort to give back to, and have a positive impact on, the community and one way was through the Santee Santa project.

The Santee Santa’s Foundation is a local non-profit organization, providing help to members of our community living within the Santee School District and in need of assistance.

The group’s signature effort is an annual holiday children’s toy and food drive focused on bringing the Christmas spirit to some 220 families.

The all-volunteer organization features school district employees, city of Santee staff, firefighters, local businesses, service organizations, mobile home parks and local citizens working together. There are minimal administrative costs; all donations are tax deductible and all donations are used to assist families and seniors in need of help. Each year the food and toy drive begins with the Santee local elementary and high schools collecting food and toys.

All of this is then boxed in preparation for delivery to hundreds of Santee families just in time to spread Christmas cheer to some of those most in need of it.

This year 28 San Diego CCTRP clients and two staff over a four-day period had the opportunity to participate in gift wrapping.

“The experience was very humbling for our clients, being able to reminisce about their Christmas past with family and children. But also, if only for a little while, feel a part of not just this project but the community. Being able to give back to the very community they once harmed.  One could see the passion, compassion and gratitude each client had when choosing and wrapping toys and gifts for someone else’s children and families they don’t even know,” according to a statement issued by San Diego CCTRP.

Zshvy Proctor, Vocational Instructor Jerrold McWIlliams, Desiree Huerta, Ashley Mallon, Sylvia Delgado-Castillo, Laura Murray, Tonez Seja and Sara Delgado helped wrap presents for children.