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By Shandra Keesecker-Rivero, Photos courtesy of Karen Aldridge
Santa Claus comes more than once a year to Puerto Peñasco, just about every Saturday to be exact. Most often caught wearing a baseball cap and sweats in lieu of a jolly red get-up, John Fowler of the Santa Claus Club explains they have been providing food, clothes, toys, bicycles, school supplies and household items to numerous families in Puerto Peñasco for over 30 years. Initially begun with a Christmas Day party in Cholla Bay, in 2007 the Santa Claus Club became a year-round program.
This Christmas season, on Dec. 21st the usual weekend truckload of donated items turned into 7 trucks filled with clothing, stuffed animals, and other holiday gifts for children of all ages, which “Santa” Fowler took to the furthest out post of the San Rafeal neighborhood. John explains the organizational work of community leader and Santa Claus assistant “Trini,” who he has known since she was about 1, was clearly evident as when the trucks pulled up the more than 1400 children – and about 1800 people in all – were already eagerly awaiting in line.
“There was a line for baby items, another for girls, and another for boys; I tell Trini what we need and she gets it done,” explained Fowler as he gushed about his long-time friend. “People don’t even know this area exists, way out….way out past San Rafael,” he continued, “…we usually bring clothing for men and women, plus all these things for the kids.”
Besides distributing items into neighborhoods, the Santa Claus Club has also made donations to the Casa Hogar (seniors home), Bomberos of Rocky Point, Red Cross, Santa Fe Clinic, Santa Maria Clinic, Clinic San Jose, Sandy Beach Clinic and the DIF Children’s Home “Amores de Peñasco”.
2013 has been a big year for the Santa Claus Club! John explains in fact, all of their figures – both of in kind and cash donations – are the strongest they’ve been since the Club started! Various fundraisers throughout the year, along with volunteers and donors, help the Santa Claus Club fulfill its weekly visits out into the barrios.
The Santa Claus Club’s web site www.santaclausclub.org offers pictures and totals of goods delivered into the barrios. There is also information of facebook under John C Fowler III. If you have any questions about the Santa Claus Club, they can be reached in the U.S. at 602-840-1528 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
To join or rejoin the Santa Claus Club, please print out and complete the form below and return it to John Fowler, P.O. Box 5, Lukeville, AZ 85341. Dues are only $20.00 a year though anything extra is greatly appreciated. 100% of your donation is used for the families in the barrios.