When one thinks of December, thoughts of presents, Christmas trees, festive decorations, Santa Claus, and jolly smiles may come to mind. Even though these simple holiday pleasures offer many people a great deal of joy and cheer, not everyone can afford them. For the last 20 years, Asian Resources, Inc. (ARI) has helped bring Christmas to hundreds of low-income families throughout Sacramento County. This year is no different. ARI provided gift cards to purchase groceries and toys for children to 100 low-income families.

Families gathered in front of the Broadway Career Center on December 18, 2011 at 9:00 am. The center was transformed into a whimsical Christmas Candyland theme decorated with candy sparkles, lollipops, Christmas trees and snow flakes. Youth volunteers colorfully dressed as elves sang Christmas carols and assisted children at the various game and craft stations. Families first began their journey on the Christmas Candyland trail by picking up their gift card and toys, then venturing to Santa’s Workshop where festive activities and games were set-up. Adults and kids alike played bingo, participated in a cookie walk and colored holiday pictures. Families also made their own personalized snowman ornaments and reindeer magnets. Once families finished making holiday crafts and playing games, families could sit and enjoy classic Christmas movies such as a Care Bears Christmas and Barbie’s A Christmas Carol. As families ended their exciting journey down the Candyland trail, they were all met at the end by Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus. In front of a beautiful background of Candy Mountains and lollipop plains, Santa greeted the children with a warm smile and peppermint candy canes. Children glowed in excitement as they took pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus. As families slowly left and the event came to a close, ARI and their youth group, YouthRISE, were filled with holiday cheer from seeing parents gleaming eyes and children’s big smiles.

ARI would like to recognize and thank the following organizations for their gracious toy donations: Citibank, California Highway Patrol, Cosumnes River College and the Sacramento Asian Chamber of Commerce.