400 Holiday Gifts Distributed to Students in Need

January 30, 2023

A child holds a wrapped gift and smiles.

Maria Carrera has struggled to stay on the path toward a college degree, pushing through job loss from the pandemic and the challenges of being a single mother. But she had a moment of relief in December in the form of two wrapped holiday presents and smiles on her children’s faces.

“It has given me a boost,” the Fontana resident said. “I can say that I was at least able to give them this.”

Chaffey College’s Panther Care Program, which provides support to students facing food and housing insecurity, distributed more than 400 holiday gifts to the children of Chaffey students Dec. 19-21 at the college’s three campuses.

Students pulled up in vehicles to receive the gifts, which had been donated by Volunteers of the Inland Empire and Chaffey Joint Union High School District. It’s an annual tradition that supports students and gives staff members a chance to spread holiday cheer.

“It gives students with children an opportunity give gifts to their kids,” said Prentice Harris, Panther Care coordinator. “It can be challenging to provide gifts while balancing parenting and coursework, so the toy drive helps relieve the pressures that the holidays may bring.”

Carrera was able to stay enrolled in her classes during the pandemic with the support of Chaffey’s Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS), as well as the CalWORKs program.

“They’ve always been a great support during the time that I was here,” she said.

Carrera now works for Chaffey’s Industrial Technical Learning Center in Fontana as a receptionist. She will receive an associate’s degree in business administration at Chaffey’s commencement ceremony in May.