Days ago Reyna Hernandez and her sisters were giving thanks, now they're giving gifts. Saturday morning the Hernandez family sat bundled up with brand new unwrapped toys by their side, to give to those who may not have the Christmas every child deserves.
"You have a lot of toys but not many kids do. Some don't even have food, water or shelter all the needs," said Reyna. The parade kicked off around 11 a.m. at the Texas State Capitol and moved down South Congress wrapping up at Cesar Chavez.
Hundreds of people flooded downtown Austin to be part of the 30th Annual Chuy's Children Giving to Children Parade. Everyone from Darth Vader to the Polar Bear Express, and Santa Claus himself all were in attendance. "It's great to see people still believe in community in the sense of togetherness especially around the holidays and Christmas," said Edward Lundell.
During the parade kids were invited to hand their donated unwrapped toys to Santa's helpers.
Those toys will make their way to the Austin Police Department's 'Operation Blue Santa' and eventually be handed out to thousands of underprivileged families across Central Texas this holiday season.
To honor the 30th anniversary of the parade, Chuy's wants to collect 30,000 toys.
The 30 year tradition of giving not only provides food and gifts it also makes an impact on the families who are donating. "Parents actually teaching kids that you give to others even though when you don't get anything you give to others to help out." An impact Reyna says can't be bought in a store.
"It makes you feel good about yourself that you are being nice and giving," said Reyna Hernandez.
For the Laberge family watching the event grow year after year and knowing that thousands of children will have something special to open on Christmas is what makes it worthwhile. "We know there's people in Austin who can't give and for a child to wake up on Christmas Day to see that they have nothing is kind of hard. I mean it would be hard on us if that happened with our little girl," said Laberge.
If you aren't able to attend, you can still donate gifts to your local Chuy's restaurant until December 10 or you can visit Austin Police Operation Blue Santa.