Image ©John Branch for the Rivard Report, 2016.

More than 90 children woke up Christmas morning at the Family Violence Prevention Services shelter with plenty of presents to open, but in early November, staff and volunteers weren’t sure what the holiday would look like.

Thieves stole about $2,000 worth of toys from the shelter’s donation center on Halloween night, but the San Antonio community rallied together to replace what was taken and then some. Donations came pouring in this week in response to news reports about the theft.

“It’s been incredible – very, very heartwarming,” Marta Pelaez, CEO of Family Violence Prevention Services, said of the countless members of the community who have donated toys, time, money, food, and clothing. “When the shed was broken into, we were broken. … This awful person that broke into our storage had no idea that at the end of this bad thing there would be an unprecedented outpouring of generosity.”

How the Grinch Stole Christmas and How San Antonians Gave it Back

John Branch

Cartoonist John Branch has commented on San Antonio and Texas politics for decades; his work is syndicated nationally by King Features.