A Christmas celebration will be held Saturday in downtown Riverside for hundreds of Riverside County youths in foster care, as well as their families, who will be treated to meals, gifts and a host of activities intended to brighten the holidays.

The “Winter Wonderland” event, hosted by the county Office of Education, is slated for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Riverside Convention Center.

“The Winter Wonderland is a way for all students to have something to look forward to this holiday season,” county Superintendent of Schools Edwin Gomez said. “This event represents an opportunity to wrap our community’s collective arms around students who are deserving of positive reinforcement, loving kindness and a fresh reminder of the importance of hope for the future.”

An estimated 19,000 minors and young adults countywide are in foster care settings or are living, effectively, in homeless or borderline homeless conditions, according to officials.

Winter Wonderland will feature a brief keynote address intended for parents and guardians, along with Christmas meals, with all the trappings, deserts, gift giveaways, photos with Santa Claus, cookie decorating, ornament making and related activities.

The Riverside Police Foundation, Tilden-Coil Constructors, Cornerstone Community Church, 1-2-3 Wellness and other area entities helped sponsor the celebration, organizers said.

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