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Anderson Truss employees play Santa Claus
Aaliyah Mendoza and her mother Margarita Guerrero pose with family members and Anderson Truss Employees Jacque Utterback, Frank Bender, Paul Sundberg, and Ace Anaya. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL

LATHROP – The employees of Anderson Truss in Lathrop don’t like the concept of kids going without during the holidays.
For the last several years, individual employees have organized an extensive collection effort to make sure that Christmas means something special to local families in need.

And on Tuesday morning, one Lathrop family found out just how much others care.

Shortly after 9 a.m., a caravan carrying Santa Claus and several Anderson Truss employees arrived at the home of relatives of Aaliyah Mendoza – who had been referred to Human Resources Director Jacque Utterback from local community organization Ray of Hope.

Carrying a big red bag full of toys, Santa Claus – also known as Anderson Truss Designer Paul Sundberg – sauntered up the walkway with Utterback, Branch Manager Ace Anaya, and Building Manager Frank Bender with each of them carrying a handful of presents to be placed underneath the tree.

According to Utterback, the sale of sodas and muffins to employees helps raise the money used every year to purchase the toys for the children that are selected based on need by organizations in the community. The company’s corporate office also donates $250 that is used for the effort.

“This is something that’s really all about the kids,” she said with a smile. “Seeing them happy when we show up and knowing that they’re going to have a good Christmas is what this is all about.”

Aaliyah and her mother Margarita Guerrero graciously accepted what turned out to not only be a trunk full of toys, butalso an extensive assortment of groceries that the family can use to cook Christmas dinner – also provided by the employees as part of their annual undertaking.

For Branch Manager Ace Anaya, seeing people pull together to help the less fortunate really validates the meaning behind the holidays.

“For things like this it’s all about giving back to the community,” Anaya said. “It’s something that our whole company cares a lot about.

“We’re fortunate to have what we have and live where we live, and this is a chance to help those who might not be quite as fortunate.”