Toys, turkeys needed for families in need

Published: Thursday, Dec. 15 2011 5:00 p.m. MST

Dr. Cesar Diaz offers gifts to Jaime Roberto during an event he sponsors to provide gifts to 600 families in Salt Lake City Dec. 18, 2010. He needs toys and frozen turkeys to help families this year.

Brian Nicholson, Deseret News

Enlarge photo»

SANDY — Dr. Cesar Diaz needs a few hundred toys for children ages 5-12, by 5 p.m. Friday.

And if you're so inclined, he needs about 250 frozen turkeys, too.

There are 600 families on his Christmas list and the Toy Run For Families In Need that he has conducted for more than a decade needs the community's help — ASAP.

The giveaway largely benefits Hispanic families — Diaz is a physician who grew up in Ecuador — although 92 refugee families are among the group he aims to help this year. The annual event is sponsored by Clinica Hispana and Hispanic Humanitarian Services.

Eleven years ago, Diaz and a few friends pooled their resources to provide Christmas to 250 families. The need has continued to grow, particularly during the economic downturn.

"These people are really poor," Diaz said. "This is the only Christmas these kids will get."

Some people who contributed in the past have held back their support because some of the families that seek the assistance are undocumented.

"We don't care about people's color or race. A lot of these people are afraid of the system. But they know me and trust me and we try to help," he said.

Diaz said he and his friends who organize the annual give-away are essentially looking for a Christmas miracle to meet the goal of helping 600 families.

People who wish to help can bring donations to Canyons Medical Center, 9355 S. 1300 East, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday. For more information, call 801-548-1473.

Marjorie Cortez

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