EDINBURG – What began as a simple letter for Santa Claus asking for a blanket, a meal and a ball has now turned into a drive to collect blankets for the students of Monte Cristo Elementary.
Crystal Pacheco like most students at Monte Cristo elementary is social economically challenged.
When her teacher received Pacheco's letter to Santa she in turn posted it to Facebook detailing the situation. Diana Smith, the principal at Monte Cristo in turn shared it on her account. Pacheco's letter went viral and the community responded by donating blankets, toys and some food to the school.
“The response was overwhelming,” Smith said. “We've had different members of the community come in and donate blankets.”
The goal is to reach 724 blankets, one for each student at Monte Cristo elementary. In the past day and half they have collected over 600 blankets.
Smith said her campus is 96 percent economically disadvantaged. But she affirmed her teachers are always committed to helping the students and working with these students the reward is infinite.
When Maria Cortez realized her daughter wrote the letter she became emotional. Cortez was in the dark about the letter until a teacher visited her home. Once Cortez found out, she was grateful how the community came together to not only help her daughter but the entire school.
Crystal has a saying her mother wanted to share this holiday season.
“Like my daughter said, with a little is a lot.”
Cortez is thankful for everyone who has taken the time to donate something. She knows that her children value what they have, which might not be much but that in turn makes her a proud mother.
Edinburg school district Superintendent Rene Gutierrez said a lot of families are in need, especially this time of year. Items that most would take for granted but to students like Crystal it means the world to them. Roughly 70 percent of students face at the Edinburg school district face an economic disadvantage.
Having basic needs as a challenge can hinder a student's education. Gutierrez said the school district always tries to exceed the norm while students are actually at the schools.
The school can be a place that can provide warmth, meals and extended hours on campus.
“Some students go home and they don't have a heater,” Gutierrez said. “They may not have food on the table, may not have the basic needs to study and do homework.”
For those wanting to donate a blanket or a toy to Monte Cristo Elementary they can call (956) 289-2362.