Library spreads holiday cheer, collects gifts for local kids


The Robert Lee Brothers, Jr. Memorial Library has provided Gonzales residents with a few options to share in the spirit of giving this holiday season. From story time to crafts and holiday gifts, the library has something for everyone. Patrons looking for a way to help others will find a donation box there, too. 

A “come and go” Christmas craft for anyone 18 and under has been planned by TAG (Teen Action Group) starting on Dec. 13 to provide arts and crafts kits kids can take home with them. The group’s supervisor Sandra Villa said that there will be no charge for the kits, but the limited supply will be given on a first come, first served basis until the kits are all gone. 

According to Becky Villa, who has been on the staff for 21 years, there is another place inside the library to find some cheer. 

“We have a free shelf. Anybody is welcome to take whatever they like. There are books and magazines. We take donations of books also,” said Villa. 

At 10 a.m. on Dec. 10, there will be a free story time for any children who would like to attend. The story will be read by a volunteer from Gateway Church. 

Villa explained that the library will also be participating in the annual tradition of collecting gifts for Legacy Ranch. 

“We’re taking donations for the Legacy Ranch Kids here in Gonzales. We have a donation box located in the library. Everyone is welcome to bring toys to donate that will be wrapped as gifts for the children,” said Villa.  

Legacy Ranch is a nonprofit licensed foster care and adoption agency that works with Child Protective Services and helps to find homes for children who have been abandoned, abused or neglected. The ranch provides a safe and loving place for kids until they can be placed with adoptive families. The organization also holds weekend retreats and summer camps and seeks out volunteers, mentors and child advocates. Children who come to live in one of the seven houses on the ranch participate in horseback riding, games and sports and art therapy. 

Pamela Rodriguez has been an administrator for the ranch for 5 years. 

Every year, a box is placed at the Robert Lee Brothers, Jr. Memorial Library in Gonzales to collect donations for the holidays. Toys, clothing and other items are distributed to the ranch to wrap and give to children as Christmas gifts. According to Rodriguez, the library is the main location where the people of Gonzales can take their holiday donations for the Legacy Ranch Kids. 

“We sometimes have up to 105 kids of all ages,” said Rodriguez, who plans the holidays for infants to teens. 

The ranch provides the children with everything they need. According to Rodriguez, they come to the ranch with nothing except what they are wearing and some of the children have never had a Christmas outside of the ranch. 

“These kids have gone through so much trauma and loss and neglect in their lives. We’re all family here. If we can give them a holiday to remember, the memory stays with them for a lifetime,” Rodriguez explained.  

“We could really use things geared toward teenagers like shoes, remote control cars, footballs, basketballs. Legos are huge for girls and boys and all ages. Dolls, art supplies, jewelry-making kits and Pokémon toys and cards are popular.   

The ranch also takes in-kind donations of feed, hay and winter blankets for their rescue horses. Rodriguez teaches horseback riding for children aged 10 and up. 

“We take the kids riding about twice a week. They take care of the horses and feed them. We can always use saddles, bits, reigns, halters and saddle pads. We rely heavily on community donations,” Rodriguez said.  

Donations can be dropped off during regular library hours or mailed to 13326 N HWY 183, Gonzales, TX 78629.  Though the library will be open on Mondays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays, some activities begin and end on specific dates and there are times the library may be closed for the holidays.