Good news! Pancho Claus receives $10K donation from Mayor Turner, community partners to continue Houston Christmas tradition

Mayor Turner gifts Pancho Claus a $10,000 donation to help continue the Christmas tradition of giving back to the community (City of Houston - Mayor's Office)

HOUSTON – After an outcry for help from the community, Houston’s own Pancho Claus and his volunteers received a $10,000 check from Mayor Sylvester Turner and community partners.

Richard Reyes, who is also known as Pancho Claus, has dressed up in a zoot suit and used a low rider sleigh to deliver gifts and put smiles on children’s faces for Christmas for the past 40 years.

Two weeks ago, Reyes reached out to the community for help. He said due to the pandemic, his team was not getting the resources they needed to continue the decades-long holiday tradition.

After hearing about Pancho Claus’ plight, Mayor Turner engaged community partners to raise funds and make a donation to keep the holidays merry and bright throughout the community.

Courtesy of City of Houston Mayor's Office. Pictured left to right: James Donatto, Joe Newman of DRC, Mayor Turner, Pancho Claus, Cliff Kennedy of DCR, and Harry Hayes, retired Solid Waste Director (KPRC)

“We’ve seen him on television, in parades, but most importantly – in our neighborhoods. For four decades, he has worked tirelessly to ensure that kids in under-resourced and underserved neighborhoods have something special under the tree come Christmas morning,” said Turner. “So much of his work relies on the gifts that come from other Houstonians. Without the generosity of the people of this wonderful city, Pancho Claus’ efforts would not be nearly as effective.”

Turner, along with representatives from Disaster Recovery Services, presented Reyes and his team with the $10,000 check on Wednesday.

“I thank all the people who made the donation possible. Pancho Claus is a spirit,” said Reyes. “It is a movement of a lot of people in our community. And this check is going to enable us to keep going this year and reach out to communities that have the highest poverty rate in Texas, if not the nation.”

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