By Maryanne Larios, Parole Agent III
South Coast Parole Unit

The Irvine Parole Complex’s second Turkey and Toy Drive made Christmas brighter for 15 needy parolees and their families. Parole agents for CDCR’s Division of Adult Parole Operations (DAPO) donated money and toys for this event.

Clerical staff assisted with identifying the toys for each child and wrapping all the toys days before the event.

Retired Parole Agent II Harold Dennis and Margo Thorne delivered turkeys and all of the side dishes, and on Dec. 20, the Irvine Parole Complex staff hosted the event for 15 parolees and their families.

As the families sipped on hot chocolate and ate holiday cookies/cupcakes, Santa Claus (Parole Agent I Sofia Gomez) arrived and handed out wrapped toys for their children and the meals to the parents.

The children eyes lit up with excitement as Santa handed them the toys.  One parolee’s 6-year-old autistic son received a gift from Mr. Claus.

His mother told Agent Sergio Vazquez her son’s wish for a Batman toy came true. “That was all he wanted for Christmas!” she said.

Another parolee had just become self-employed after buying a tow truck.  But he and his family have been struggling to make ends meet with all of the new expense.

He thanked his parole agent stating his Christmas will be a good one now that they have food and gifts for his family.

Southern Regional Administrator Karen Thacker said: “This demonstrates the holiday spirit alive and thriving in the DAPO family. Thank you to our Orange County Parole Agents for your generosity for those in need. This is truly what the holidays are all about.”