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YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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USDA Secret Santas give to locals in need

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

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.

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