Leo Sanchez/Conexion Del Rio

DEL RIO,TX–On Saturday, December 10th, the Texas Department of Public Safety & Texas Parks and Wildlife collected new unwrapped toys, non-perishable food, and monetary donations to assist families through their 5th Annual Christmas Toy & Food Drive.

DPS Officer, Terri Mendoza stated that the community initiative began with an idea formulated by their regional commander out in Weslaco,Tx, who wanted to give back to the community.  Mendoza also stated that Duane Maldonado, Chief of Police for the School PD, was the individual who lead the initiative prior to taking the position.  

"We have continued the tradition," said Mendoza.  "This year we have adopted ten families to assist this Christmas."

Through volunteer work, city and community support, and local non-profits, the event has flourished throughout the years.

She stated that the school district provides the department with a list of families who are in need.  

The Texas DPS & Texas Parks and Wildlife invites the families to the event to give them a gift from the heart.  

"There is no better feeling than seeing a child's eyes light up when they see Santa, the food, and gifts we bring for them," said Mendoza.  

Pictured: Isaac Ruiz, K9 Game Warden for Texas Parks & Wildlife, and K9 Turbo