Ernesto and his sons, Ernesto Jr. and Marco, operate 3-G Electric Service in Beeville.
The company sponsored the Toy for Bee Kids gift giveaway this Saturday.
“We’ll start our Christmas shopping on Sunday,” said Marco, office manager for 3-G Electric. “I’ve got two kids. My brother has two kids and my father has 15 grandkids to buy for. But we’ve been too busy with Toys for Bee Kids to do any shopping for our own families.”
Hundreds of children and their parents lined up in front of 3-G Electric on Saturday to await Santa’s arrival.
Some parents and children arrived as early as 8:30 a.m.
A moon bounce was set up to keep the kids occupied until Santa showed up at noon.
Donuts and soft drinks were handed out to those in line and later in the morning pizza was offered to those still hungry.
Many of those waiting in line wandered across the street to the First United Methodist Church, which was sponsoring its annual communitywide Christmas dinner.
Marco Garcia said 3-G Electric was prepared to hand out 800 beautifully wrapped presents on Saturday.
“We had collection boxes set up around town so we got a lot of toys that way, and many, many businesses and individuals donated money to the cause,” said Marco, who helped organize the noble venture started by Beeville businessman Rudy Garcia 15 years ago.
“We couldn’t have done it without the help of many, many kind-hearted people in this community,” Marco said. “They helped make Toys for Bee Kids a success this year.”
Dozens of individuals helped wrap the toys once they were bought.
Door prizes, including a new bicycle, were given away throughout the morning to keep the children occupied.
John Ramirez, 8, of Beeville beamed as he walked his new bike to where his family was waiting in line.
A D.J. played Christmas music to the waiting crowd, which numbered well over 600 by 11 a.m.
Santa’s arrival on a Beeville fire engine brought shouts of joy from the kids.
They swarmed around the jolly old elf as he stepped off the fire truck.
Elvis Presley’s “Here Comes Santa Claus” blared from speakers as St. Nick danced his way from the fire engine to a seat atop a podium where he danced some more.
Thomas Jefferson Elementary School second-grader Alexis Abrigo, 10, of Beeville, was among the first to sit in Santa’s lap.
Her eyes grew to the size of small saucers and she smiled from ear to ear as he handed her a red and white striped present almost as large as herself.
Marco Garcia said he was thrilled with the turnout Saturday and hopes 3-G Electric can have an equally successful toy drive next Christmas.
“This is all about the kids,” said Erica Garcia, wife of Ernesto Jr. “We wanted to do something to make sure all the kids in Bee County were happy this Christmas.”