A line of eager kids on Saturday had a chance to sit on Santa’s lap and go home with a few toys thanks to the American Legion Post 75 Holiday Candy and Toy Giveaway at the Cortez Cultural Center plaza.
Mike Colen, adjutant for Post 75, said they’ve been putting on the event for 15 years. Legion members brought about $200 worth of candy, like Reese’s and Snickers, and the Cortez Cultural Center provided a stockpile of stuffed animals, toy trucks, bike helmets and coloring books to hand out.
“We just do it for the kids,” Colen said. “Plus it makes us feel good.”
Sandy Valencia, Cortez Cultural Center program and event coordinator, said the spirit of Christmas means making sure every kid has a chance to visit Santa and grab some toys.
“For some with times being hard, this may be the only present they get,” Valencia said.
Parent Simona Lopez said her daughter received a Minnie Mouse doll and Santa gave her 4-month-old son, Kenai, a small toy fox.
“We love the toys,” Lopez said. “They’re perfect.”
Kim Pixler, the aunt of 2-year-old Corey Bundy, who went home with a toy truck set, said seeing Santa is great for the kids.
“It gives kids the opportunity to see Santa and tell him what they want and it’s all about family too,” Pixler said.