And her simple wish is spreading joy to other little boys and girls.

By Michelle Darrisaw
December 18, 2017
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Much like leaving warm, baked cookies and a glass of milk out for Santa, writing letters to jolly Old Saint Nick is a timeless Christmas tradition as well. The average kid might pen a letter to Kris Kringle requesting a bicycle, toys, video games, or action figures. But Crystal Pacheco, a 7-year-old student at Monte Cristo Elementary School in Edinburg, Texas, had a somewhat unconventional request of Santa Claus: She asked for a warm blanket and food.

After learning about the difference between wants and needs in her first-grade class, Pacheco was inspired to write this note to Santa:

"I have binde [sic] good this day," Pacheco wrote. "This Christmas I would like a ball and a food. I need a blancet [sic]."

Not only did Pacheco's special request catch the attention of the North Pole's plump resident, but teachers and school officials took notice, too. Ruth Espiricueta, Pacheco's teacher, was visibly moved by the letter and shared it on Facebook on Wednesday, December 13, with the following caption:

"This makes me very sad," Espiricueta wrote. "When your students ask for food, blankets, or a bed instead of toys. As a teacher, it breaks my heart when I hear them ask for things that we sometimes take for granted. Hopefully I will be able to fulfill at least one of their Christmas wishes."

And grant Pacheco's wishes she did.

Other community members, playing the role of Santa's little helpers, also stepped up to perform a Christmas miracle. As Pacheco's letter was widely circulated on social media, donations of food, jackets, toys, and blankets started pouring in for the little girl and other children at the elementary school. According to The Valley Town Crier, the school has received more than 600 blankets so far. The goal is 724.

When Espiricueta asked Pacheco why she designated the food as a want but the blanket as a need, Pacheco painted a heartbreaking reality for her that's indicative of so many children living in impoverished communities.

"Well, I get to eat at school—sometimes I may not have at home, but I get to eat at school," Espiricueta recalled Crystal saying. "A blanket I have one, but it's not warm enough."

Pacheco's mother, not surprised by her daughter's letter, added, "I'm just very emotional and proud of my children, because I raise them to appreciate the little that we have."

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You can help low-income students in Edinburg by donating supplies directly to the school. The address is 4010 North Doolittle Road, Edinburg, Texas 78541. According to Espiricueta, once they've reached their goal of 724 blankets, they'll donate the rest of the items to other students and families in need.