Carolyn and Luis Camacho will celebrate a very special Christmas with their children this year.
But the children don’t know it yet.
The Fruitland Park parents, who have a 12-year-old special needs son in addition to a 10-year-old daughter and and 7-year-old son, were moved to tears Tuesday morning when they were provided with bicycles for their children.
Their special-needs son Ramon will receive an Adult Adaptive Tricycle which helps with both mobility and social skills.
“It’s nice to see the community coming together to help a family like ours,” said Luis Camacho as he and his wife prepared to load up the bicycles at Fruitland Park Elementary School. The presents will be hidden away until the children get to see them on Christmas morning.
“The children always have a hard time sleeping the night before Christmas,” Carolyn Camacho said. “This time, I am going to be the one who has a hard time sleeping.”
The bicycles and the Adult Adaptive Tricycle were presented to the family thanks to the Adopt-A-Family program championed by the Amigos Sports Club and the Pelican Social Club in The Villages.
Members were out at both Fruitland Park Elementary and Wildwood Elementary Tuesday morning loading up gifts for struggling families.
“This is the first year that the Amigos Sports Club and the Pelican Social Club have joined forces to support the children of Wildwood and Fruitland Park with the Adopt-A-Family program. Joy for me personally has come in many ways: A gentleman at Sam’s Food Drive who dropped $75 in the donation jar and wished us good luck with the program. Another gentleman at the food drive who brought a shopping cart filled to the top with toys for the children. Tears welled up in the eyes of the volunteers,” said Anita Monroe who serves as co-chair of the Pelican Social Club.
Fruitland Park Elementary Guidance Counselor Diane Blozis said the entire school is grateful for what the Adopt-A-Family drive has done for children and families at the school.
“Having support from community members like the Pelicans and the Amigos has helped so many of our school families by being able to provide not only gifts for the kids but a holiday meal for the entire family,” Blozis said.
The Adopt-A-Family project began five years ago with the Amigos Sports Club, said Jim Wilson, co-chair of the Adopt-A-Family program for the Amigos Sports Club.
This year, the Pelican Social Club joined in.
The goal this year was to raise $12,000 and provide clothes and toys for 50 children from Wildwood and 50 children from Fruitland Park.
But the clubs exceeded that goal.
So the clubs were also able to purchase 161 pair of pajamas for the Pajama and Book Drive put on by the Girl Scout Silver Trefoil Alumni Group of the Villages.
“It is a great feeling to know that there are so many generous, caring people in The Villages,” Wilson said. “We could not do this without you.”