Jeff Yasui, left, of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Risk Management Agency helps Tom Cox of the Yolo County Department of Employment and Social Services load his sleigh — er, vehicle — with Christmas gifts for local families in need. This is the 21st year of the USDA holiday gift program. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

Local News

USDA Secret Santas give to locals in need

By From page A3 | December 13, 2012

Employees from the U.S. Department of Agriculture are celebrating the holidays again this year by giving. Thirty-seven needy Yolo County children and five adults will find a few more treasures under their Christmas trees this year thanks to these USDA “Secret Santas.”

Each year, employees from USDA in Davis volunteer to participate in the Adopt-A-Child-For-Christmas Program, sponsored by the Yolo County Department of Employment and Social Services. The program benefits children from infancy to young adulthood in foster care, as well as low-income families and individuals.

Volunteers are provided with the child’s age and gender, plus a few holiday wishes they would like fulfilled. Then the fun really begins when the “Santas” jump into action.

“Playing Santa for a needy child and letting parents and foster parents know we care is the best present I can give myself each year,” said Marina Barajas, who has coordinated USDA’s participation in the program for 21 years. “The holidays are such a joyous time. We just want to spread a little happiness out into our community to help those in need.”

Toys, clothing and other items were donated by several USDA agencies: Natural Resources Conservation Service, Rural Development, Farm Service Agency, Risk Management and the Office of Inspector General.

Enterprise staff

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