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The Cory Hays Story


In the 60’s, children in elementary school walked to school and early enough to play before classes began. One day, in November, a 10 year old boy, named Cory, overheard a much younger boy lamenting about the fact that he had never had a visit from Santa Claus. Cory had never heard of such a thing.

He went to the store a block away, called Short Stop, and convinced the manager to let him sweep the parking lot every morning, which he did for several weeks. He told no one what he was doing it for.

He finally saved up $8 which was enough to buy a battery operated train. His problem was that he didn’t have enough to buy the batteries and he needed to be driven to a variety store in Newark where he knew he could find the train. So he had to confide in his mother who drove him and bought the batteries.

He then wrapped the gift and, when dark, took it across Fremont Blvd. to a small farmhouse where American High now stands. He placed the gift on the front porch and dashed away.

The Monday after the Christmas break, the little boy was thrilled to tell everyone that “SANTA HAD COME TO HIS HOUSE ON CHRISTMAS TOO”.

Cory felt that every child deserves a visit from Santa.

Many years later, Cory died suddenly from a brain hemorrhage. He was only 38. He was my son. As the holidays once again rolled near, it was a very sad time. One day, at our office, there was an announcement that an organization called “Adopt An Angel” needed help wrapping gifts for needy kids.

So, I wrapped and it helped because it was something that Cory believed in – even at such an early age. And, I’m still wrapping and I still believe that, as he did, every child deserves to go back to school after Christmas and be able to say he/she had a visit from Santa.

That’s how it all started for me. Today, we work with Alameda County Protective Services and Terra Firm, to provide gifts to kids who, through no fault of their own, are living in group homes, shelters, foster care or just low-income homes. We will start with 600 kids and hope to reach a higher number. This is just a small percentage of the thousands of children who have been physically, mentally or emotionally abused. Some of their stories are beyond belief. Many are asking for basics such as shoes, p.j’s, school supplies, blankets, sheets, etc. We, through the help of the public, will put smiles on faces and let these children know that Santa knows and cares about them.



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