Wednesday, January 16, 2019
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20190102 RancheroVillage IMG 5674Jan Murphy fought at the idea; she battled with God over idea.

“I felt God was asking me to do this,” she said. “I wasn't interested in doing it, but he told me I was going to do it and he was going to work on me until I did.”

Now in its sixth year Jan's Christmas for Kids has blessed nearly 50 families who may have gone without during the Christmas holidays.
The “event” is a collaboration between residents at Ranchero Village in Weslaco and Margo Elementary School, which sits just down the road. The two already work together with other functions; residents will go read to school children and, in turn, the students will come and perform their Christmas program for the residents.

Jan's Christmas for Kids begins when Rosie Arriaga, a parent specialist for 23 years at Margo Elementary, delivers the names of students from eight families who she knows who could use a better Christmas.

20190102 RancheroVillage IMG 5734“Miss Rosie brings us the names and I will distribute the names to people in the park. They'll take a name or two and buy gifts for the children,” Murphy said. “There will be several real good donations and people will give whatever they can.”

Three other couples will then go buy the toys and food to prepare for delivery day, the final day of school. The couples, joined by Arriaga and her husband, enjoy making the deliveries to the families.

Prior to delivering on Dec. 21, nearly a dozen tables and many chairs were covered in the items purchased. There was plenty of food, milk, paper towels, laundry detergent and other necessities to make each family's holiday a little less worrisome and a whole lot brighter.

“The people are really appreciative; a lot of them don't have the funds to buy gifts for their children,” Murphy said. “When we buy the gifts we put them in a big bag and each bag has a child's name on it.”

20190102 RancheroVillage IMG 5742Imagine the look on a child's face – one day he or she has no expectations of Santa visiting; the next day there's a big bag with that child's name on it, filled with toys and other gifts. “It's wonderful – they are just ecstatic,” Murphy said.

Murphy is a Grand Rapids, Mich. native and the Ranchero Village kitchen coordinator who also does a lot of work with the schools.
The food comes at a time where students are out of school for at least two weeks and the families need some extra help to get through.

“My grandkids have everything they need and if they don't, it's bought for them,” Murphy said. “These are my little kids. It's very heart-warming and very humbling. They are thankful for what they get. It's special.”

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