Spanish-speaking Santa Claus helps bring Christmas cheer
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Before making his annual trip around the world, Santa Claus stopped by El Pueblo’s Biloxi office, eager to meet some of South Mississippi’s immigrant families.
One by one, children lined up for photos next to St. Nick, and many were shocked to learn that he could speak Spanish, just like them.
“I love them seeing Santa speaking Spanish. That is absolutely great. We want our kids to (not) lose their native language,” El Pueblo Access Language Programs Director Allison Hanson said.
The idea behind the day was to make sure Spanish-speaking families could enjoy holiday traditions without any language barriers.
“You know, you’re growing up, you never see a Santa Claus that speaks Spanish or different languages. So the more comfortable you can make the kid and the family, the better it is,” Anderson Esquilin said.
Esquilin is a part of an Ingalls Shipbuilding group called HOLA, Hispanic Outreach and Leadership Alliance. The organization partnered with El Pueblo for the Santa meet-and-greet by holding a toy drive at their workplace. Organizers say about 60 shipbuilders donated more than 200 presents for the children.
“A little bit goes a long way. So if everyone does a little, nobody has to do a lot. It just represents how good the type of people are at Ingalls,” HOLA Communications Chair Robert Santos said.
HOLA members said they are excited to do more community events like this in the future.
“This group kind of brings everybody together,” Esquilin said.
El Pueblo hopes to continue its work with families who need them the most.
“Our immigrant families need to know that they are not alone and they are in fact not alone. We are here for affection, love, support with all of the programs El Pueblo holds throughout the year,” Hanson said.
El Pueblo is still looking for physical and monetary donations to help South Mississippi immigrant families. If you wish to help, visit their website.
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