Saturday, December 16, 2017

1st grader asks for food, blanket in heartbreaking letter to Santa

By Morgan Winsor
Dec 16, 2017

A first grader's heartbreaking letter to Santa has spurred a flood of donations, after her teacher shared the humble wish list on social media.

Ruth Espiricueta, a first-grade teacher at Monte Cristo Elementary School in Edinburg, Texas, asked her students this week to write a letter to Santa Claus about something they want and something they need, after a lesson about the difference between the two. When school was dismissed for the day, Espiricueta began reading the letters and was taken aback in particular by one student's note.

The 7-year-old girl wrote to Santa, “I have [been] good this day. This Christmas I would like a ball and a food. I need a [blanket].”


The next day, Espiricueta asked the student about her letter to Santa. The girl said she wanted a ball, rather than a doll, so both she and her brother could play with the toy. She told the teacher she wanted eggs for food.


The girl was not the only student to ask for basic necessities in her letter to Santa, Espiricueta said.

"Unfortunately, there are other students that as part of their needs they included food, towels, blankets, pillows, bed, clothes, shoes and a stove," the teacher told ABC News. "Some of my students were not even excited about Christmas because they know that their parents can not afford to buy a Christmas tree or gifts for them."

More than one in five children in Texas -- about 22.4 percent -- live in poverty, according to 2016 data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Espiricueta said she couldn't bear the thought of her own child going hungry or cold. So she shared a photo of her student's letter on Facebook on Wednesday, hoping to help the students and their families in need. People immediately offered to donate to the student as well as to others at the school.

The letter inspired the principal at Monte Cristo Elementary School to start a donation drive, with a goal of collecting 724 blankets to give to each student. So far, 616 blankets have been donated.

"She is happy her friends will also be receiving a blanket to stay warm," Espiricueta said.

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