EL CENTRO - In an effort to provide needy families in the Imperial Valley with a Christmas meal and presents, The Center for Family Solutions hosted its 15th Annual Christmas Luncheon. The event was especially heartwarming for one Calexico resident.
Eliza Carbajal is a mother of 6. She doesn't have a job and recently had to stay in a shelter to provide a safe and warm place for her children to sleep at night. Like so many other people in need, thanks to the Center for Family Solution's spirit of giving, Christmas for the Carbajal family will not bring comfort to their stomachs and smiles to their faces.
Those smiles have been hard to come by for The Carbajal family. Eliza has been unemployed for almost a year, but according to her, losing her job was just the beginning of her economic problems.
"My brother and my sister both died this year. The economy hit me hard and I couldn't pay my rent anymore. I ended up at that shelter with my family and thank goodness that I found The Center for Family Solutions there. They have helped us a lot".
Santa Claus - also made an appearance at the Center for Family Solutions' Christmas meal for the needy - to hand out toys to all 50 children - to give hugs - and to take pictures with them.
Santa's gift of giving - turned to a wish come true for two of Carbajal's children who received new bikes. Carbajal says she was overwhelmed with joy.
"This means a lot. I can't say enough about this. I had no money to buy them presents this year and thanks to God they gave them some here. They also fed us and gave us a gift card. The experience here was great".
For Carbajal, witnessing the smile on her children's faces, especially brought back many of the same memories of her childhood growing up in México; when the spirit of Christmas had more to do with the heart, than the gift itself.
"My mother, Bless Her Heart, would put peanuts, oranges and fruit on our beds on Christmas morning. Those were our gifts. It wasn't much, but it was nice".
Carbajal says that she is just happy that her children will have a Merry Christmas.
Overall, the Salvation Army helped provide a Christmas to 25 Imperial Valley families. The gift of giving included bicycles toys for the children.
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