By Shanna Cummings
Former Van Horn resident Julie Velez-Segura brought some joy and Christmas spirit to area children on Saturday.
For the second year, Velez-Segura gifted hundreds of toys for children in Van Horn and her current hometown, Lake Jackson. She and husband Ralph also dressed as Mrs. Claus and Santa for photos with the kids.
“I love them and I always will,” she said.
The line of eager children waiting for gifts and photos wrapped around the inside of the Mercado building Saturday afternoon, and the toys were stacked high on tables and on the floor against one wall. Around 220 assorted toys found new homes that afternoon.
Velez-Segura, who graduated from Van Horn High School and now owns an insurance agency in Clute and runs Jesus is the Answer ministry in Lake Jackson, said she wanted to offer the gifts as a sign of her love for Van Horn families. She said she loves seeing the smiles on children’s faces when they receive their toys, and she intends to continue the Christmas tradition every year.
“God willing, next year will be bigger,” she said. The event scheduled for the Lake Jackson area includes over 550 toys.
The gift-giving event in Van Horn had a few local elves for support Velez-Segura wanted to thank, including Mellie Balcazar, who secured the building, Roxanne Calavera, Tonya Harper and Myra Flores.
Velez-Segura said she purchases and stores the toys throughout the year. Though not rich, she said she’s “very blessed and thankful” for what she has and wants to help others in need.
For more information about Velez-Segura’s ministry, visit the Facebook page Jesus is the Answer – Radio.