The Chuy's Children-Giving-to-Children Parade supports the Blue Santa program. It’s a popular event where truckloads of toys are collected.
After the parade, the toys are then wrapped by volunteers like Francesca Contreras. "It was like a great experience, I felt good on the inside because there was like a bunch of books and puzzle toys and games that were able to go to the children,” said Contreras.
Concerns about the pandemic may have canceled the parade but not the need, according to Blue Santa president Margarine Beaman. “We get a lot of toys there, sometimes up to 20,000 toys, so that makes a big difference,” said Beaman.
Beaman told FOX 7 Austin that in a typical year, Blue Santa delivers Christmas packages to 4600 homes. “This year we will probably be up over 10,000 or more than the children we usually serve, 15,000. And I would say this year it’s going to be 17,000+. So it’s a large increase to us. Some people when you look at the size of the community that might not sound like a whole lot. It’s a whole lot,” said Beaman.
Adding to this holiday dilemma; this year there will no toys, only gift cards. It was done to reduce exposure to the virus. An online campaign to raise $500,000 for the gift cards was launched, but the goal has not yet been reached.
“It is a huge change, yes. That meant we really needed to raise a lot of money, and it’s been a long time since we've had to raise that much because when you do toys, a lot of people donate toys. So we've had to change our whole plan,” said Beaman.
The Blue Santa team is now hoping for a Christmas miracle and enough donations will come in before the gift cards have to go out. Along with a straight donation, there are other fundraising campaigns in the works; like an online auction that is currently underway. It wraps up on Monday.