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Santa visits Crowell School
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Yessenia Avalos talks to Santa Claus while Nevaeh Avalos and Arriana Novoa look on (ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal).

Nearly 100 students at Crowell Elementary School were visited by the Letters to Santa Charity on Friday afternoon, receiving sacks filled to the brim with clothes and a toy for not only themselves, but their siblings as well. The charity effort has grown exponentially over the past 10 years, President Justin Crone said, going from helping just 76 children in its first year to now making sure over 1,700 local children can enjoy Christmas. In addition to their gift-filled bag, each student also receives a full turkey dinner for the holidays, and this year the charity was able to raise over $207,000 to help 14 area schools — five of which are in Turlock — experience a magical holiday.

“You look at your community and think, ‘What can I do as a legacy?’ This is ours. It’s crazy that it’s become what it is today,” Crone said. “We never in a million years thought that we would have all of this…our growth has been pushed by the people who support us every year.”

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Letters to Santa Charity President Justin Crone hands out gift tags to each student so they can collect their bags (ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal).