Crystal Pacheco's request for a blanket and food in her letter to Santa Claus in south Texas has led to an outpouring of donations to the school, KGBT-TV reported.
Crystal, 7, a first-grader at Monte Cristo Elementary School in Edinburg, Texas, wrote the letter as an assignment with the rest of the class from first-grade teacher Ruth Espiricueta, the television station said.
"I have binde good this day. This Christmas I would like a ball and a food. I need a blancet," Crystal wrote in the letter, according to KGBT-TV. Espiricueta, who had taught the students the difference between wants and needs, said she was surprised by the request, the television station wrote.
"I started reading them and it's like, I did not expect her to say, 'I need food. I want food, but I need a blanket more,'" Espiricueta told KGBT-TV. "And I asked, 'Well, why do you need a blanket more than the food?' 'Well, I get to eat at school — sometimes I may not have at home, but I get to eat at school. A blanket I have one, but it's not warm enough."
Espiricueta posted Crystal's Santa letter on Facebook and it went viral, with strangers bringing donations to the school.
ABC News wrote that the letter inspired the school's principal to start a donation drive, with a goal of collecting 724 blankets, one for each student. The school has received 616 blankets as of Saturday.
"Unfortunately, there are other students that as part of their needs they included food, towels, blankets, pillows, bed, clothes, shoes and a stove," the teacher told ABC News. "Some of my students were not even excited about Christmas because they know that their parents cannot afford to buy a Christmas tree or gifts for them."
Nashley Garcia, who lives in nearby McAllen, Texas, showed up at the school to donate 20 blankets, The Washington Post reported. Garcia said she got to meet Espiricueta and Crystal while visiting the school and the girl told her she wanted the ball to share with her older brother, the newspaper said.
"She just looked at me. She just said 'thank you' and she gave me a hug," Garcia told the Post, adding that she went back to the store to get gifts specifically for the girl. "I felt like I needed to personally give something to this child."
The Post noted that Edinburg is in Hidalgo County, in the heart of the Rio Grande Valley, where 45 percent of the children in the county and nearly 34 percent of its population live in poverty.
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