PHARR – As recipients of the Kindness Ambassadors Grant, students and staff from PSJA Sonia Sotomayor Early College High School in Pharr, gave toys to more than 200 children and families in need at Su Casa de Esperanza on Monday, Dec. 12.

Funded by generationOn and the Hasbro Children’s Fund, the grant awards a $50 VISA gift card, collateral materials and up to 500 Hasbro toys to distribute as part of the Joy Maker Challenge service project.

PSJA Sotomayor students received a total of 100 toys from Hasbro to help 89 registered families. Due to the great need in the community, the school also obtained an additional 100 toys from local businesses such as South Texas Institute of Health, Rusty’s Betties, Futuro Clinical Trials and Smile Magic.

More than 40 students, representing various campus organizations, volunteered to help distribute toys throughout the day.

"It's important for these students to give back as they themselves face a lot of challenges,” said Crystal Reyna a Social Worker at PSJA Sotomayor ECHS. “They need to feel connected and a part of this community by giving back."

Reyna also thanked Starbucks and Jack in the Box for donating food and beverages for the volunteers.

Having received brand new toys, families expressed joy and gratitude for the presents. For Teresa Garza, receiving gifts for her 2-year-old daughter served as a reminder that there is good left in the world.

“We’re very grateful to PSJA and Su Casa de Esperanza for spreading joy and showing us that there are people who care,” said Garza.