Hundreds of children across San Antonio will be without their biological families this Christmas. But one church is making sure they won’t be without gifts.
University United Methodist Church took on the role of Santa this year for the city's little ones in the custody of Child Protective Services.
"They’re not at the place they probably would prefer to be this Christmas, and so we wanted to make sure they knew Christmas was for them," Senior Pastor Ben Trammel said.
Pastor Trammel’s congregation partnered with CPS to host a day of Christmas cheer complete with arts and crafts, holiday treats, and even a parking lot petting zoo.
"The church community just went all out," Bexar County CPS Program Director Timothy Gable said.
What started last year as a sweet gesture for only a few kids in CPS is now a huge bash for kids in the entire Bexar County Adoption Unit, providing them with gifts and reminding them the true reason for the season.
“One of my workers is a member here, and last year they provided some gifts for some of the children in her unit, and this year they asked, they wanted to do it for the whole adoption program in Bexar County.” Gable said.
Members of the church banded together to purchase gifts for nearly 750 kids, four of whom Barbara Cortez is in the process of adopting.
"It’s surprising what we never knew what kids would go through,” Cortez said as she fought back tears.
Despite the pain the children faced in the past, their forever family was meant to be.
“It was a blessing just having them for making our holidays even better,” Cortez said.