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Coastal Bend 8-year-old collecting toys to give to kids in foster care

Nate's Next Kid Up program has one goal in mind: get as many toys as possible, so every child can have a Merry Christmas.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Santa has many helpers across the country, including right here in the Coastal Bend.

“I wish for other people to have a Merry Christmas and have a great life,” 8-year-old Nate Gonzalez said.

Nate Gonzalez is working to bring smiles to other children for the second year in a row.

“To me he’s always had an old soul, I feel like, and since last year with everything with COVID and everything, he wanted to donate all his Christmas gifts last year,” Nate’s mother, Isabel Gonzalez, said.

"His dad and I wanted to show him that with the community together we can actually make the change."

“I got like a lot of toys, I raised like 300 toys last year and it just makes me sad to see still more kids sad and need a lot of help,” Nate said.

All 300 toys were given to CASA of the Coastal Bend.

“We feel so fortunate that Nate and his mom, Isabel, wanted to be involved with CASA of the Coastal Bend again, but most importantly for sharing the gifts that they collect through the community to children that are in foster care,” Samantha Koepp-Stemplinger, Recruitment and Marketing Manager for CASA of the Coastal Bend, said.

Koepp-Stemplinger said it’s not just the toys that are heartwarming, but the message that comes with them.

“So, with gifts that come from the community that are spearheaded by this wonderful 8-year-old, it brings a message to these children that there’s people out there who will never meet me, who don’t know me, but they care enough to purchase something for me to share a bit of their holiday season with me,” she said.

And Nate, hoping to make a difference and make this a yearly tradition.

“I want to make them safe,” Nate said. “I want to make them happy.”

And he said with his parents by his side, he knows this is possible.

“I just want to help very badly and make the change again, so everyone would keep going and keep moving and think they’re the same because they are the same inside,” he added. ““I know my mom and dad got my back to reach me to this goal.”

If you would like to donate or learn more about Nate's cause, visit their website by clicking here.

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