Each December San Antonio residents step forward to help the needy during the holiday season. Numerous groups and individuals donate gift items and perform acts of kindness in order to bring cheer to the less fortunate.
These images in the San Antonio Light Collection, dating from the 1920s to the 1990s, illustrate the long tradition of holiday giving in San Antonio.
Delight Stone, director of the Bexar County Public Health Association Christmas Seal Campaign, holds seals to be sold in downtown booths, 1926. (MS 359: L-0397-C)
Fire Chief J. G. Sarran distributes second-hand toys that were repaired by members of the fire department, Christmas Day, 1925. (MS 359: L-0333-B)
Laura and Edward Keller practice the Russian Adagio they will perform on Christmas Eve during vaudeville program for local orphans, sponsored by the San Antonio Light and the Palace Theater, 1925. (MS 359: L-0505-B)
Mrs. Sam Slack, chairman of the Christmas Cheer Association, with one of the food baskets to be distributed to more than 700 needy families, 1928. (MS 359: L-0746-B)
Students at Edgar Allen Poe Junior School make Christmas gifts for the children at the San Antonio Child Protective and Humane Society, 1933. (MS 359: L-0145-H)
Rita Doris Elms in Majestic Theater foyer with dolls for the needy that were brought by local children as the price of admission to a movie, 1937. (MS 359: L-1700-C)
Members of the Junior Yanks of San Antonio help repair some of the toys they gathered for the San Antonio Light-San Antonio Fire Department toy drive, 1938. (MS 359: L-1997-A)
Louis Garcia, member of the Boys Club, delivers toys that were reconditioned in the Boys Club workshop, 1948. (MS 359: L-3683-I)
Girl Scouts Regina Leatherwood (left) and Billie Mayrant, with gift items they purchased by selling holiday cards and wrapping paper, 1955. (MS 359: L-4885-C)
Karen McFarland, bell ringer, accepts donation from Catherine Hobbs, Salvation Army kettle outside Joske’s Department Store, 1977. (MS 359: L-7026-A-11)
A first-class catered dinner for the homeless, sponsored by the Cordon Bleus Brothers, is served beneath the W. Commerce Street Overpass. A blues band (background, right) performs for the crowd, Christmas Eve, 1988. (MS 359: L-7173-040-15)
Fantasy flight to Santa’s workshop at the North Pole for children with cancer, made possible by a partnership between the American Cancer Society and sponsors, 1989. (MS 359: L-7174-027-14)
Elf Louise Christmas Project volunteers receive gifts for needy families. Louise Locker, founder, on right, 1991. (MS 359: L-7274-004-11)
Motorcycle club volunteers deliver gifts for Elf Louise, 1986. (MS 359: L-7184-150-19)