La Roca Christmas Presents

La Roca Christmas Presents

By: Raymond Swavely

It was that time of year to get ready for La Roca Christmas presents, when I received an e-mail about what to put in the Alternative Christmas brochure. They sent me a general format stating, 'provide a present for a child at La Roca who otherwise would not get one.' I thought, 'Yep that about sums it up.' As I was about to tap the reply button, a picture came to me. It was a picture of a woman in her 30s, cold and shivering in a wooden shed with her three children. She was cold because she had put the one blanket on the three children after they ​had gone to sleep. They would argue that she needed the blanket too if she had tried to place it on them before they were asleep. Claudia, her daughter Lucerno (12),  her brothers Guillermo (11) and Jose (2),  were gleaners in the Mexico fields. They would follow behind the pickers and take what the pickers left, as long as the property owners agreed. Otherwise, they would live off the kindness of the pickers. Usually they would wake from the headlights of the trucks as the pickers neared the fields, as they usually slept by by the roadside covered by a blanket or a shed if they were lucky. The children did not go to school, ate whatever they could and were in poor dental health. Claudia and her family came to La Roca trying to turn their lives around. At La Roca, her family received assistance. Foothills sponsored Claudia's family for a period of about eight years. Foothills provided birthday presents, Christmas presents, food, clothing, dental care and much more. Claudia's family became part of La Roca. Lucerno received help to go to a junior college from the kindness of Foothills. Claudia and her family moved on from La Roca. They even found a place to live. Claudia has a job. Lucerno is working at McDonald's in Tijuana and is in line for a manager's position, Guillermo goes to school and works, and Jose goes to school.

I tapped the reply button on the computer to Stephen Topham, sending the information that 26 presents were delivered to the children who once attended the La Roca school.

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