In preparation for the Christmas gift distribution for children in Camp Pendleton, our volunteers received 150 letters from families describing what they would like Santa to bring their children. In the days before the event volunteers reviewed the requests and packed each gift bag with toys and gift cards. Invitation appointments were scheduled for over 800 people. Funds, toys, and refreshments were provided by our partners, the Judith Campbell Education & Community Foundation, Rotary District 5280 and its Rotary Clubs, the residents of La Costa Glen, and others.

On Saturday, December 11, our volunteers from Camp Pendleton distributed toys to 850 persons. Every child received several toys and each family was given several gift cards in the bag of gifts. Included in the group were two families whose children had just gone through very serious surgeries. Their gift bags included extra gift cards.

As we were closing and cleaning up, one of these two families came to pick up their bag of toys. The mother opened the bag and found the gift cards. She turned to one of the volunteers and said “This must be a mistake. There are too many gift cards in my bag.” The Rotary Volunteer told the lady: “I didn’t put the cards in the bag but I know who did. I can assure you, there is no mistake.” The woman burst into tears and hugged her, saying “I am so grateful. This will get us through Christmas!"

This is what all of us do.