Congress Avenue was shut down from Cesar Chavez to the Capitol Sunday for the Chuy's Children Giving to Children parade. The annual event featured marching bands, floats, giant balloons and entertainers for the kids. Thousands of spectators gathered to watch the parade and to donate toys to Operation Blue Santa, a local organization started by the Austin Police Department that provides toys and meals for families in need during the holidays.
Mom Jennifer Focke says it's a great way to teach her kids about giving. "We try to do something like this through the holidays and all throughout the year so they understand the idea of giving and I think it has a good impression for our kids."
When asked how it feels to donate toys, young Sofia Butler says, "It feels really good." Her sister, Victoria, added, "It feels good helping people that can't get gifts from parents and get gifts from us."
This was the 25th year for the toy drive parade. Last year's parade collected 20% of the toys that Operation Blue Santa needed for the season. Organizers hope to be able to serve about 3,800 families this year.
For information about how to donate to Operation Blue Santa, visit: www.bluesanta.org