Toys for Tots Giveaway Draws Thousands in Sanger

Sanger's mayor calls it a Christmas miracle. On Friday, its Toys for Tots cupboard was nearly bare due to thieves. Less than 24 hours later the toy bins were overflowing due to a caring community.

The line for the Toys for Tots giveaway in Sanger at 10:00 Saturday morning stretched for more than a quarter mile. Mayor Joshua Mitchell{}feared the worst Friday. "I cannot tell you how grateful we are for the miracle we saw at 12:00 in the morning when we counted the presents and we felt we had enough," he said.

People from as far away as Modesto donated toys. Walmart also played a major role donating 300 toys plus 70 bicycles. Richard Luz is a regional manager for Walmart and lives in Sanger. "I personally went ahead and got all the bikes and got them together and worked with a team of associates to help bring them here last night until about 2:00 in the morning," he said.

The long line represents what the economy has done to this farming community. But the mood was upbeat as accordion music filled the air. One of the most determined people in line was Joe Chapa. He rode his purple bicycle from Fresno. "It was cold and it was really troubling trying to get through that fog and making sure{}I wasn't hit. There's not very much of a bike lane coming up here," he said.

Chapa is a father of five. The bike ride took him three hours but felt it was worth it after hearing the mayor say Sanger was willing to share its toys with people in need in neighboring communities. "Try to put a little something under the tree for them. What's having a tree with no gifts? Christmas day and put that smile on their face is all worth it. It's emotional," Chapa said.

Parents who got in line early were already experiencing happy holiday moments. They wore huge smiles on the way out of the building carrying all kinds of toys. One even rolled out with a new bike.

A final footnote...Joe Chapa who rode his bike from Fresno got five presents for his children. Great Day's Liz Gonzalez delivered them to his home in Fresno.