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Sons carry on Miracle on 31st Street, father’s legacy

Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 9:25 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A decades-long Christmas tradition continues this year after being cancelled because of the pandemic.

Ramon’s Miracle on 31st Street is once again asking for toy donations for their big giveaway. But this year is different.

The driving force behind the event passed away, and the struggle for donations looms large.

Ramon Gonzales brought Christmas miracles to kids in South Tucson, just to see their joy. It’s what motivated him through all his struggles to make it work.

And then Roman passed away from COVID-19 complications one week before Christmas.

“He didn’t want no child to get sick. So he cancelled his party because of it, and it hurt him because of these years he had been doing it,” said his son, Manuel Gonzales.

And he did that for nearly five decades, until COVID hit.

His wife, Carmen, said he knew he wasn’t going to make it to next Christmas. That’s why she told their four sons to keep going with the toy drive.

As of Friday, they only had 25 toys. The room they typically use to store a plethora of toys is almost completely bare.

Their goal is 20,000 toys for 10,000 kids.

“We would have quite a bit, but I know during the pandemic it’s kind of rough,” Manuel Gonzales said.

The nonprofit used to get tremendous help from the city’s annual Stuff the Streetcar toy drive. But this year, SunLink said, they had not been contacted about it, but may consider getting involved next year.

The loss of Ramon Gonzales is taking it’s toll, but the family says it’s always been about the community stepping up, including help from supporters like the Imagination Car Club.

While this year’s toy drive is a struggle, club member Dennis Jordan said, he think’s they’ll make it.

The Gonzales family has two toy drives scheduled.

The first one is slated for Saturday at Cafe Santa Rosa on Sixth Avenue and the second one is set for Dec. 11 at Advanced Auto Parts, also located on Sixth Avenue.

Ramon’s Miracle on 31st Street Christmas Party is happening at AVA Theatre on Dec. 19.

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