Belle Glade Sun

Santa and New Hope give away toys

Special to The Sun/Florida Crystals
New Hope Charities’ Executive Director Guillermo Rivera and Event Chairwoman Lian Fanjul Azqueta.

PAHOKEE – New Hope Charities, a nonprofit dedicated to helping underserved families in the Glades communities, distributed more than 2,500 gifts to children Wednesday, Dec. 21, during its Annual Toy Give-Away.

Santa Claus swooped in on his ‘sleigh’ – Florida Crystals’ helicopter – and hopped off with Mrs. Claus to spend the day distributing thousands of toys to children from underserved communities in the Glades region. For most of these children, the gifts handed out by Santa and his volunteer elves through sponsorship by Florida Crystals and the Hasbro Gift of Play Program will be the only ones they receive this holiday season.

This annual event has taken place since 1995, giving away approximately 50,000 toys and games over the years to children from Belle Glade, Pahokee and throughout the Glades region. In addition to the toy distribution, children and their families enjoyed a barbecue lunch, face-painting and other holiday fun.

Special to The Sun/Florida Crystals Volunteer Connor Smith and New Hope Charities’ Office Manager Dee Hurtado.

The Toy Give-Away was chaired by Lian Fanjul Azqueta and Berta Pons. “This event is dear to the hearts of everyone in my family,” said Mrs. Azqueta, who was joined by several family members in assisting with the toy distribution. “Every year, it is our privilege to see the joy on the children’s faces and come together as a community to share in the holiday spirit of giving and fellowship.”

Founded in 1988, New Hope Charities is a 501(3)(c) nonprofit organization that supports a full-service family center in Pahokee. Along with offering supplemental food packages, the center provides after-school and summer camp for children, academic tutoring, health care services and a Christmas toy distribution program that reaches up to 3,000 children who otherwise may not receive any gifts. All services are offered regardless of ability to pay. For more information about New Hope Charities, please call 561-366-5093 or visit

Special to The Sun/Florida Crystals Florida Crystals’ employees and New Hope volunteers JoAn and Peter DiPaola.

Special to The Sun/Florida Crystals Florida Crystals’ Caroline Villanueva with volunteers Aurora Chinchilla and Catherine McDermott.

Special to The Sun/Florida Crystals Pahokee City Manager Chandler Williamson and Florida Crystals’ Gaston Cantens.