As the world rings in the New Year, thousands of San Antonio residents and visitors will flock downtown to celebrate the arrival of 2013. Organizers say it’s the largest free New Year’s Eve celebration in Texas, and expect 250,000 people in downtown San Antonio.
While children all over San Antonio spent Christmas at home with family, others spent the holiday in the hospital. It’s not the ideal place for a solemn celebration, so San Antonio’s Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller brought a little Christmas spirit to them.
Through prayer, Archbishop Gustavo, as he likes to be called, went from room to room at Christus Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital downtown.
Residents at the San Antonio Children’s Shelter will be treated to a special Christmas “just like home” this year. Community organizations brought in truckloads of toys and volunteered their time for the kids.
The San Antonio Children’s Shelter usually has upwards of 50 children staying at the center, who usually come from homes in crisis. CEO Annette Rodriguez said the holidays are a sad time of the year for many of the kids.
The founder of the Elf Louise Christmas Project, one of the city’s most notable Christmas charities for children, spent some time healing in a local hospital on Monday.
The name of Louise Locker, AKA “Elf Louise” has become synonymous with cheer at Christmas time and getting presents to those children who otherwise might not have much -- or anything -- under their tree.
Locker, who successfully battled cancer in 2010, had a mild heart attack Sunday evening, and by 3 a.m. Monday she was on Facebook updating her status and complimenting the great staff.
The city has concluded work on a project it started ten months ago to address drainage on Old Highway 90 along Westwood Village Creek. Many other projects from the 2007-2012 bond program are also nearing completion.
Boerne High School student Joseph Bonnin walks from table to table, trying to talk above the loud conversations and the Luis Portilla Orchestra playing Christmas tunes on stage. The 16 year old has a tray full of apple pies.
"It's the right thing to do," he says of his volunteerism. "Why not? It's great. I'm having fun here."
Each year SAMMinistries honors the homeless who have passed away with a special memorial service: this year there were 66. The annual candlelight vigil to honor the homeless will be held tonight -- the longest night of the year.
This year, there were 11 fewer homeless deaths than last year. SAMMinistries CEO Navarra Williams said community concern and good shelters are part of the reason, but there’s also greater outreach to find people when they need to get inside.
With the help of a handful of partners, the San Antonio Food Bank will no longer have to use existing funds to pay for its warehouse expansion project.
A combined $15 million – the largest campaign ever conducted by the food bank – will completely fund the project, leaving the food bank leaders to use existing money to meet the day-to-day needs of people.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who also contributed to the goal personally, joked about his presence at the press conference to announce the news.