Community donations provide money for a group to replace stolen presents intended for the elderly

Gifts for elderly stolen from Cinco de Mayo, Inc.

DELANO, Calif. - Last week, 23 ABC reported how an organization that gives Christmas gifts to the elderly was robbed of those gifts.

"It was like popping a balloon and all the air came out," said Leticia Quiddam, president of Cinco de Mayo, Inc.

A moment of defeat came last week for this group when they discovered that thieves stole $2,700 worth of presents.

The group had worked all year to raise money for stolen gifts.

On Wednesday night, it was a very different mood as volunteers shopped to replace the gifts for the Cinco Santa program.

"The elderly are the forgotten," said Quiddam. "Everyone remembers children, and they remember everybody else, but they forget the elderly."

Liz Morris has been with the organization for almost 30 years and has been part of the Cinco Santa program from the beginning.

"To see their faces; (for) some of them, this may be the only gift that they get from anyone," said Morris. "It's emotional because we are so touched by the special spirit that they bring, and we try to bring that to them also."

It's a spirit that volunteers will be able to bring once again, thanks to people from around Bakersfield.

"It was everybody coming together to make sure these people needs were taken care of," said Quiddam. "It was a good warm feeling to think that people, who don't even know these (elderly people), came and made calls."

Those calls resulted in $700 worth of donations, and a Christmas tradition saved by the community.

"If there is a will, there is a way," said Quiddam. "We were gonna do this no matter what it took. Our soul will always go on for these people. It will never stop."

The gifts will be handed out on December 18 and 20.

For more information on how to help, call Leticia Quiddam at 661-619-2777.

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