Homestead ARB Christmas tradition continues Published Jan. 12, 2006 By Lisa M. Macias 482nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs HOMESTEAD ARB, Fla. -- Even though the journey from the North Pole is a far one, Santa Claus and the elves from Homestead Air Reserve Base made a special visit to the migrant children of Homestead this year. On 22 December, volunteers from HARB visited the South Dade Christian Migrant Association and the Redland Daycare Center to hand out presents, give hugs, and spread the holiday spirit. With Santa Claus accompanying them, they made sure no child at the centers went without receiving a toy this Christmas. The Christmas toy drive at HARB has been a tradition for more than seven years. It involves various organizations from the base who join together to collect toys for children whose ages range from infant to ten years old. Last year’s toy drive was particularly significant. Even with all the disruptions from hurricanes and deployments, there were enough toys for every child. Meei Hill, the toy drive coordinator, recalled how upon returning from her recent deployment from Iraq, she noticed all the empty toy boxes and asked herself, “How am I going to fill all these boxes?” Yet, the spirit of giving was not lost, and people from all over the base offered toys ranging from a doodle pad to a dancing Elmo doll. Mike Guerrero, duty desk supervisor for the 93d Fighter Squadron sponsored a classroom of children, giving ten toys. “I just give them something they can be happy with,” he said. Mildred Cintron, one of the elves who works in the 482d Fighter Wing Operations Group obtained toys in other ways, “We beg”, she joked casually. However the means, getting a toy meant a great deal to these children, whom otherwise, might not have had anything for Christmas. In total, over 332 children received a toy. The toy drive ended on Christmas Day, when any leftover toys were donated to the Community Partnership for the Homeless.