By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Old Saint Nick Makes Surprise Local Appearance
head start santa 2
Pure joy, as one youngster received his gift of mittens, a cap and book from his visit with Santa Claus. The items given to the children were made possible by Oakdale VFW Post 2922 and the Womens Auxiliary. Teresa Hammond/The Leader

This past Friday, Dec.11 proved to be a day of surprise and fun for the pint sized students of Oakdale’s Head Start program, as they were treated to a visit by Old Saint Nick.

Santa Claus paid a visit to the east Oakdale school site and attentively listened to each of the youngsters as they shared their ‘wants’ for Christmas. A total of 40 students ranging in age from 3- to 5-years-old from the morning and afternoon classes, whispered their wishes to the jolly old soul.

A gift of hats, mittens and a book was given to each child following their visit courtesy of Oakdale VFW Post 2922 and the Women’s Auxiliary.

“We reached out to the community and the VFW was kind enough to partner with us,” Master Teacher Chris Lemings said of the gift donation to ease Santa’s holiday to do list.

“It all started with our community involvement and noticing it was kind of lax,” Dan Vigil, Senior Vice Commander VFW Post 2922 said.

Vigil shared he had decided it was time for the post to become more community involved again and he had learned of the opportunity through his daughter-in-law Caitlyn Vigil.

Oakdale’s Head Start program is run through Stanislaus County Office of Education.

“The children were thrilled to see Santa,” Lemings continued. “They were also given an opportunity to take pictures with Santa. Not all of them are able to do that normally because of the cost.”

“It was probably one of the best things I’ve ever done as far as community involvement goes,” Vigil said of his attendance at the event, with a bird’s eye view of all the goings on.

For additional information on the Head Start Program visit For information on Oakdale’s VFW Post 2922 or Women’s Auxiliary contact Vigil at 209-614-5072.