Toys for Children in Mexico Stopped at the Border

by Mary Lou Morga
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - It's become a Christmas tradition for the Baeza family.

Every year they spend weeks gathering toys and presents, along with those students.

But this year, they didn't even get close to the children at the Casa de Hogar Orphanage in Aldama, Mexico.

"It's just a shame that we can't cross them," Oscar Baeza, who takes toys to Mexico, said.

Bags and bags of toys ready to be delivered and put under a child's Christmas tree.

"The parents and kids will get a name and they buy gifts for that particular kid and we take it to Mexico to the orphanages," Baeza said.

But this year, these good samaritans were not allowed to cross the border.

They were stopped by Mexican officials who, for the first time, had a lot of questions.

"What kind of gifts they were, what size shoes, where the shoes were made, what type of material the shirt, if it was make in Korea or the U.S. or China," Baeza said.

Demands that Oscar Baeza could not believe.

"Why would they say no to help 125 kids that don't have much," Baeza said.

Now in order for the children to get their gifts, they will have to come to Presidio to get them.

"It puts them in this weather where they can catch a cold, it is a 3 1/2 hour drive," Baeza said.

Although this year was a little more dificult for them to get the gifts to the children, Baeza says that it is all worth it.

"If we can make one little kid smile and say somebody loves me , It's just worth every bit of it," Baeza said.

Mr. Baeza says he will start working with U.S. Customs Department in January to avoid the same problem next year.

U.S. Customs out of El Paso tells NewsWest9 they worked with the Baeza family to try and correct the issue and even contacted Mexican officials about the toys.