Education Matters: Bringing festive cheer to those in need this holiday season


FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – The holidays can be tough for farmworker families as many depend on the seasonal work that dries up during the winter months.

But there is one event where Santa will always make an appearance, and that is at the annual Christmas party put on by the Office of the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools’ Migrant Education department.

Last year, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, Santa and his helpers found a way to visit a migrant family, loading up a Christmas tree and presents and delivering them to the family’s front door.

This year, Santa showed up to bring joy and hope to a family in crisis who lost their home due to job loss and illness.

“They haven’t found a house and they’re still looking for a place, so the family was also affected,” said Washington Unified School District’s Julieta Mora. “Mom was sick and then she had some medical conditions due to COVID.”

Even though the celebration was scaled down because of COVID protocols, the generosity from the staff in the migrant education department meant a lot to this family.

“It means a lot because we weren’t not concentrating on anything like Thanksgiving, Christmas because like, I was asking myself in my mind what are we gonna get for them the little ones,” said Washington Union High School student Jose Morales Yepez. “So after knowing that my Mom told me that we were selected to get here right. I was honestly surprised and felt lucky.”

There were gifts for the four children and their parents, a Christmas tree to take home, and festive food.

Those who work in migrant education say they get joy from helping others. Putting on the annual Christmas celebration is a way to show support for a family that’s working hard to educate their children despite hardships.

“We strongly exercise the idea and concept that in order for us to be involved and help kids succeed in school we need to be involved in the every day,” said the Migrant Education department’s Ruben Castillo. “It’s not just about when the bell rings you’re there and you’re gone. It’s about what happens afterwards.”

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