Winter Texans as Amigos de los Ninos on Christmas Day

Today a volunteer group primarily of Winter Texans will carry on a mission that began 25 years ago by delivering Christmas gifts to children of Nuevo Progreso.

Pat Church said the thing she enjoys most about holding a Christmas party for the children here are the smiles.

“They are so appreciative of anything. I mean I never saw a kid so happy to get a notebook and pencils and crayons, things our kids take for granted,” said Church, president of Amigos de los Niños de Mexico and a former Winter Texan who now lives in Alamo.

The group of more than 200 volunteers planned to be at Ford 45 Elementary School today to celebrate Christmas with the local children.

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Amigos has been celebrating Christmas with the children every year since Christmas Day 1990, bringing donated school supplies, candy and food for 2,700 to 3,000 children who might not otherwise have any Christmas at all.

The group’s members are mostly Winter Texans — staying in cities from South Padre Island to Mission — backed up by a few year-round Rio Grande Valley residents, including many former Winter Texans.

Amigos went to the elementary school on Tues-day to clean up the schoolyard and store the supplies for today’s celebration, said Ed Barrett, secretary of the group.

Today they’re bringing everything out for the children.

“We will have things set up in the school and we will have set up about 25, 6-foot-long tables,” said Barrett, 79, a Boston native who now lives in Weslaco. “On these tables we will have put out the candy, the school supplies, the bags of groceries, the peanuts, everything.”

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