SANTA ANA —The convoy made its way across the street and up the stairs with 12-year-old Bella Anderson bringing up the rear with four oversized Nordstrom shopping bags stuffed with presents.
At Apartment 103 — the number scribbled on the door — the party gingerly walked inside, packing the living room of the studio-turned-two-bedroom apartment where four members of the Murillo family waited.
Moms Rebecca Anderson and Christina Murillo broke the ice with a nice-to-meet-you hug that brought tears to their eyes.
"We have so much stuff for you," Anderson said, looking around at the gifts that covered the white carpet.
Andersen Elementary School's second-grade classes collected the gifts, which on Wednesday night were delivered by Anderson and her two children, Bella and Josh, 8; Cami Young and her daughters, Natalie, 10, and Olivia, 8; and friend Ryan McMonigal, 8.
Theirs was one of seven groups of Santa's helpers this holiday season who ventured outside Newport Beach to bring gifts to families like the Murillos. Each grade level at Andersen adopted a family and spent the first part of December collecting items for Irvine's Congregation Shir Ha-Ma'alot's Jessica Herron Inner-City Partnership.