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Santa visits Partnership
Santa Claus gladly accepted an invitation to the Ceres Partnership for Healthy Children's Christmas Celebration for Pickles & Ice Cream program participants last week.

"The families really enjoyed it," Program Specialist Griselda Vazquez. "We're going to try to do it every year."

Ceres Partnership for Healthy Children operates a Family Resource Center, located at 2908 Fourth Street, that provides parent education, family activities, counseling and help for those in need.

Classes are offered in Spanish and English. The Pickles & Ice Cream program was created for pregnant and new moms.

"We don't charge for any of the services," Vazquez said. "Everything that comes into our center is donated."

Approximately 30 children helped decorate a Christmas tree before collecting gifts and posing for pictures with Santa Claus at the Ceres Community Center last Wednesday and Thursday.

Mother Aracely Gomez and children Emily Alvarado (8), Jose Brambila (3) and Roger Brambila (4 months) were among those taking part in Wednesday's festivities.

A variety of toys were donated, including teddy bears, puzzles, coloring books, telephones, cars and other educational knickknacks. The non-profit organization used non-restricted funds to pay for additional gifts.

"It's very warming to see the smiles on the kids' faces," Vazquez said.