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LINCOLN HEIGHTS : Councilman Plays Santa to 600 Kids

Councilman Mike Hernandez donned a Santa Claus suit last week at Plaza de la Raza and gave out toys to 600 elementary school children from his district.

Monday’s Christmas giveaway, the third hosted by Hernandez, included 19 elementary schools in the 1st Council District, from the northeast Los Angeles area to Pico-Union. Plaza de la Raza Cultural Center is at 3540 N. Mission Road. “This is one event that stays with you the whole year,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez’s staff members spent months organizing the event and collecting toy donations. They gathered 1,000 toys, with 600 distributed at the giveaway and the remaining 400 donated to nonprofit organizations that will deliver them to children, said press deputy Tony Perez.

“It’s gotten bigger every year, and I tell you, it was a rush,” Perez said. Word of the toy giveaway has spread, making it easier to collect the donations and assemble the children, he said. In the first year, nearly 100 toys were given out, and last year it grew to 300.

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“We’ve seen this event grow each year, in part because of outreach, but mostly because the needs of the district are so great,” Hernandez said. “For many of the children, this may be the only Christmas toy they receive.”


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