GLENDALE, Ariz. — For thousands of Arizona families, the holiday season this year is going to be a challenge after losing a loved one to the coronavirus.
But some in the Valley are already in the spirit of giving and are stepping up to bring some holiday cheer to those who need it most.
“He passed away on July 1st," Sandra Barron said.
It's been four months since Sandra Barron's husband died from the coronavirus and four months since her three boys lost their father.
“After a week he passed away. No goodbye, no nothing. No time for nothing. So it was hard not only for me but for the kids that having dad all the time at home and not having him," Sandra said.
His name was Armando.
He was 44 years old and his family cannot imagine celebrating the holidays without him.
“It’s been really hard," Sandra said.
That's why the Boys and Girls Club in Glendale and Cricket Wireless wanted to help.
Without telling Sandra, Cricket selected her family as one of the company's "12 Days of Cricket" recipients after the Spencer D. & Mary Jane Stewart Boys & Girls Club nominated her.
Sandra showed up Friday afternoon to pick up her kids like usual. She was shocked when she turned the corner to find a room filled with gifts. All of it was for her family.
“I’m from Cricket Wireless and we’re surprising twelve different families across the country," said Brandon Robinson, a senior marketing manager for Cricket Wireless.
Christmas came early for this deserving family. Sandra and her kids were gifted everything from toys and skateboards to a laptop and a check.
“It’s amazing for them it’s a little bit that will help them go through the process that they’ve been going through, with the psychologists, and everything is like okay I’m not going to worry about what is going on with my dad. It’s the holidays," Sandra said.
While the holidays won't be easy for Sandra's family, this surprise brought their smiles back. It's a sign of hope and a reminder of what this season is all about.
“All the emotions. Happiness, sadness, I’m grateful for all you have done for us," Sandra said.
Cricket's "12 Days of Cricket" kicked off on Nov. 13 and will continue through next week.