This holiday season, local San Antonio organizations are continuing their tradition of giving back to the community through food drives, toy drives, and clothing drives. These charitable drives make sure underserved children in San Antonio are able to have a brighter holiday.

The San Antonio Fire Department and the San Antonio Professional Firefighters’ Association are participating in their annual “S.A.nta’s Firefighter Toy Drive,” which is taking place from Nov. 23. until Dec. 14. Following this, firefighters will deliver toys from the drive to children in San Antonio on Dec. 21, 22 and 23.

Drop off locations for the toy drives include: the Fire Museum at 801 East Houston; the H-E-Bs at Blanco, Bander, and Evans; and Wal-Mart at DeZavala. The Institute of Texan Cultures will also be hosting a “Toy Day” from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 7, 2013. Toys collected on that day will be given to the SAFD toy drive.

“As firefighters we have such a tremendous platform to go out and help the public, and there’s nothing like delivering toys to children that may not have as much,” San Antonio Fire Department Chief Charles Hood said in an interview with La Prensa.

For the complete list of drop off locations and hours go to Facebook.com/SanAntonioFireDepartment

Supermarket giant H-E-B is also hosting the 3rd annual “Spirit as Big as Texas Food and Toy Drive” from Dec. 1 to Dec. 23. Their goal is collect food and toys that will be donated to Texas children’s shelters. Drop off locations for these drives are in most San Antonio H-E-B stores in “Food4SA bins.” Donations will go to local food banks and nonprofit agencies.

The Bexar County Young Tejano Democrats are also participating in a “Bring Joy to a Refugee Child in SA” Toy Drive for refugee children in San Antonio from Nov. 25 till Dec. 25. The Toy Drive is part of the Bexar County Young Tejano Democrats’ Youth Engagement and Participation Project.

“We decided to make the refugee community our focus because they continue to be a forgotten community in San Antonio. The struggles that they face here are something that our city and the overall community of San Antonio need to address. Many in the community don’t know about the large refugee community and we find it necessary to help this forgotten community this Holiday Season.”

Current drop off locations are the Starbucks at 5321 Broadway, Ideas Unlimited at 5213 Bandera Road and Nick’s Drug and Beauty Supply at 733 N. New Braunfels. Students on campus can also donate by contacting Eric Vasquez at eric_jvasquez@yahoo.com.

“Aside from the Toys, we are also gathering clothes for them. It affects the overall community in San Antonio, because it is group of people that are being left behind. As a thriving city we need to be aware of our ever-growing diverse community. As a result, we need to embrace them and welcome them as our neighbors.” Carlos de Leon concludes.

Another prominent charitable drive includes the Elf Louise Christmas project, a large San Antonio based organization created to provide for children in need during the holiday season. drop-off locations can be found at elflouise.org.

Other UTSA charitable drives include Toy Day at Institute of Texas Cultures, Toys for Tots, Sock drive for The Children’s Shelter, and many more. A full list can be found at utsa.edu/today

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