LYNWOOD -- St. Francis Medical Center joined La Huasteca Mexican Restaurant for its very first “Breakfast With Santa.”
The breakfast, which was held Dec. 19 at the restaurant, was hosted for children in Lynwood and the surrounding South LA community whose families lack the resources to purchase toys for Christmas. It included a hot morning meal of bacon, eggs, sausage, and toast for the approximately 100 children and family members in attendance, followed by games and activities, and the presentation of toys and gifts by Santa and his helpers.
The children represented students from elementary schools in the Lynwood Unified School District, as well as students from three Daughters of Charity schools in the Los Angeles area. Students were identified by teachers and counselors, and their families were extended an invitation to the breakfast and toy give-away.
All of the new toys and gifts were provided by St. Francis Medical Center (SFMC). The toys were collected by the St. Francis Medical Center Foundation through its annual Toy Drive for the patients and families the hospital serves.
The toy donations were made by the employees, physicians and friends and supporters of the SFMC Foundation. Gift items included age- appropriate toys, games, puzzles, sports equipment, and beauty accessories.
This was not the first joint venture between the hospital and La Huasteca. In October, the dining establishment was recognized as the first Choose Health LA Restaurant in Lynwood, in collaboration with St. Francis Medical Center.
SFMC is a community partner with LA County’s Choose Health LA Kids and works with restaurants throughout South Los Angeles to help them modify their menus to make it easier for customers and families to select healthier options.
“Breakfast With Santa” received wide support from the community. During a short program, local leaders were on hand to express their shared commitment to making this a season of good will for all families and to wish them a Merry Christmas. mong the representatives was Eloisa Gonzalez, MD, MPH, director, Cardiovascular and School Health, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health; Christine Manson, coordinator, Student Services, Lynwood Unified School District; and Gilda Gonzalez, director, Healthy Community Initiatives, St. Francis Medical Center.
Gonzalez was quick to acknowledge the spirit of giving this event sparked.
“Look around and you see a meal lovingly prepared by the restaurant and joyfully served by volunteers from St. Francis, Lynwood Unified School District, and LA County Department of Public Health," she said. "You see students from Firebaugh High School who painted holiday backdrops and created fun games for the kids. You see an abundance of toys donated by hospital staff and partner organizations. And you see children giving smiles and thanks to Santa and all of us here today. It’s truly wonderful.”
Pamela Carmona, MPH, LCCE, project manager, Choose Health LA Kids-Healthy Community Initiatives, St. Francis Medical Center, stated, “We couldn’t have been more excited to partner again with La Huasteca and Juan Carlos Flores, the restaurant’s general manager. We love this community, and what better way to promote health and wellness than to share the blessings of the season with the children and families who make up our community home. Merry Christmas, everyone!”