LA VERNIA, Texas – Santa and Mrs. Claus paid a visit Friday to a day care center still mourning a teacher and students who died in the Sutherland Springs church shooting.
The children at Grandma's House Daycare Center in La Vernia received a present from Old Saint Nick, who gave them some moments of needed joy.
Amanda Tatum, assistant director of the day care, said the children continue to feel the impact of losing their beloved teacher, JoAnn Ward, and several classmates in the shooting.
Pictures of the victims remain on the day care wall in their memory.
"We have some kids that are still having a hard time with it. We have kids that ask about her. They ask about Brook, and they ask about Emily and they ask about Ryland," Tatum said.
Day care staff are trying to give the children a good reason to smile and move on. But just like the children, they're struggling to find a bit of yuletide cheer amid the memories.
Pre-K teacher Carrie Armstrong said there are lessons amid the tragedy that she is passing on to her students.
"You love these kids as your own, and you learn their personalities," Armstrong said. "You learn the small stuff doesn't matter."
Day care staff is collecting Christmas cards and letters for student Ryland Ward, who is still in the hospital recovering from his gunshot wounds.
Cards and letters can be sent to:
P.O. Box 174
Sutherland Springs, Texas, 78161
You can also send cards and letters to Rihanna Tristan, who suffered a minor wound in the shooting, at the following address:
C/O Bob Lookingbill
13965 Ladd Road
Atascosa, Texas, 78002