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Community gives back with toy drive, big brothers big sisters holiday party

HOLIDAY CHARITIES

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - Tis' the season for giving and today the community came together to do just that. From a toy drive in Palm Springs to a holiday party for kids and their mentors with Big Brothers Big Sisters in Indian Wells, the efforts make for a much merrier holiday season for many.
     
At the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Desert Annual Big/Little holiday party, Ez-riah Jones and his big brother celebrated 1 year since they first got paired up through the program.

"Both my little brother and I, we grew up without fathers, so, it's kind of a fun experience to serve as a male role model in his life," Jones' Big Brother said.

The event Sunday for the kids and their mentors at the Renaissance Esmeralda included, pictures with Santa Claus, christmas presents, a magic show, arts and crafts, games, and even a full ice cream buffet.
The kids even got to meet and take pictures with IBF World Champion Randy Caballero.
     
"What I like about the christmas party is that you get a present and you get to spend time with your big," said Little Sister Yocelyn Maldonado

Mentors with the program also say spending time with their littles is a very rewarding experience.

"I'm a big brother in my spare time, I do something that gives back to the community, gives back to my little," said Jones' Big Brother.

It's also a rewarding experience for the kids themselves.
      
"What I like having about a big sister is they spend time with you and you get to talk to them about what school is like and about your friends," Maldonado said.

At Trio Restaurant in Palm Springs, community members also gave back in a different way, by holding their 4th Annual Holiday Gift Drive for families part of the Aids Assistance Program.

 "People that have families that have kids, they don't really have the money to buy toys, so we do the toy drive to help those families to give them toys," said Tony Marchese, Co-owner of Trio Restaurant.

The owners have held the toy drive for the past 4 years, and this year reality star Lisa Vanderpump from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills was on hand to help with the cause.

"I truly love this restaurant, I love what they stand for and the fact that, you know, it's that time of year and they host this event, and I'm happy to be here," Vanderpump said.

"Trio has always given back, but it's nice to give back to an agency that's done so well, it's a great feeling," Marchese said.


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