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San Diego non-profit packages 4K gifts for children in need

FOX 5 San Diego
FOX 5 San Diego
 2022-12-05

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SAN DIEGO — HEY Operation, a non profit which stands for Heal and Empower Youth, hosted its tenth annual gift packing event. This year, with the help of volunteers, hundreds of people came together to package 4,000 gifts for children in need.

This year the non-profits impact is expanding.

“We’re packaging 4,000 gifts today for foster children in San Diego and Los Angeles, and also for orphans in Mexico and hospitalized children in San Diego,” said Diane Zoura, founder of HEY Operation.

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Zoura and her cousin started the non-profit ten years ago, with just a team of three people filling 30 bags in a garage. This year, the operation needed more room and transformed the One of One auto detailing shop in Kearny Mesa into Santa’s Workshop.

“This is something that I’ve always wanted to do, I have a special place in my heart for displaced children,” Zoura said. “It’s just amazing to see how many people want to help and give back, really this is what the holidays are all about.”

With the help of sponsors, Zoura purchases the gifts based on items foster care children need.

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“We wanted to provide items of necessity and then also toys for the kids,” she said. “We have scarves, beanies, gloves, socks and then toothbrushes, toothpaste. And then for toys, we have little Barbie dolls and toy cars and bouncy balls.”

“It just makes you realize what you have and you want to be able to help others who are less fortunate and hopefully spread that joy, especially during this time of the year,” said Vanessa Baka as she was packaging the gifts. “We brought our high school kids from St. Peter’s diocese and they seem like they are having so much fun. I am glad they get to do this and help other kids.”

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“It’s been a privilege bringing a lot of out Mater Dei students to assist and volunteer their time, and just absolutely wonderful knowing that we have 4,000 children that are going to be getting these gifts,” Michael Hart, Director of Alumni at Mater Dei Catholic, said.

“My goal is to provide a gift for every foster child in America,” Zoura said.

HEY Operation plans to deliver the 4,000 gift bags Monday in San Diego, Los Angeles and Tijuana.

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