The Clewiston News

Local children share their Christmas blessing with kids next door

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Santa Claus made a special visit to a family in Clewiston just days before making his trip around the world.

A fire truck rolled into the Relax Inn parking lot Tuesday night but it wasn’t there to put out a fire; Clewiston Fire Department was there with a special delivery: Santa Claus and dozens of presents for three special children.

Tony, 10; Vinnie, 8; and Joanna, 9, are students at Central Elementary School. Sergeant Lucy Quinones, of the Clewiston Police Department, knew she could help make the holidays more special for these children so she gathered donations and organized Santa Claus and one of his elves to deliver the toys as a surprise to the kids.

Tony and Vinnie gave The Clewiston News a special viewing of their many presents on Dec. 23, which sat wrapped underneath the Christmas tree in their small apartment.

Vinnie is especially excited about one relatively small box, which, as he shakes it, he is convinced is a lego set.

“I like Chima and Ninjago legos,” Vinnie said.

Tony excitedly points to a very large box, which will most likely be first unwrapped on Christmas morning.

As excited as the kids are about their presents, they have taken none of their gifts for granted.

“We gave some presents to the other kids next door,” Tony said.

As Santa pulled up on the fire truck, three little girls from the apartment next door, aged five, eight and nine, came outside too.

Tony, Vinny and their sister Joanna, took it upon themselves to share half of the toys Santa had given them.

“We got enough and they had none. They were watching us and we felt bad they didn’t have anything,” Tony said. “It doesn’t feel good when they watch us and they didn’t get anything.”

The boys’ mother also took canned goods to the neighboring family, which Santa had brought along with the many toys.

Their mother said she knew something was in the works for that night, but didn’t know the details, nor did she know that her children would share their blessings with others.

“When they saw Santa getting out [of the fire truck], the looks on their faces was priceless,” she said. “They know Santa’s not coming back.”

“I’m happy with what we got. I hope he doesn’t come back because we got enough,” said Tony.