Angels in disguise: Family receives gifts from local restaurant ‘adopt a family’ program

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Some families in the area are celebrating Christmas a little early after receiving gifts dropped off by a local restaurant owner.

Every year, the Mueller Restaurant Group organizes an “adopt a family” Christmas gift-giving program. It looked a little different this year with the pandemic, but it still brought smiles to children’s faces.

Cairo Vargas and his brothers were shocked to open the door to gifts this afternoon.

“I appreciate everything you guys have done, it was a big surprise, thank you,” Cario said to Ross and Lauren Mueller, the surprise Santas on his doorstep.

The Muellers own restaurants Label 7 and Native. Each year, they have christmas trees with families for customers to “adopt.” This year, it went virtual.

“We did a social media post, anyone that’s interested in supporting families this year for Christmas please reach out,” Lauren said.

The boys’ mom, Moira, said she feels so lucky to be in this program, because all others like it were full. She said she kept it a secret from her sons until the day of.

“I appreciate it right now, with the pandemic it’s hard for a lot of families. It has no discrimination, black, white, Puerto Rican, old, young and I’m just very grateful,” Moira said. “It means the world to me, it brings tears to my eyes, like I said the world could use more people like them and I’m just so grateful to see my kids smile.”

This was the last of 12 deliveries and Ross said it’s important to him to give back to the community that’s been supporting him through this pandemic.

“The wind did not cause my tears when we were watching her express her gratitude. I don’t care how well the restaurants are doing or how poorly that becomes irrelevant at that point when you look at others in need, and there’s always somebody in need, that’s what becomes more important,” he said.

“You guys are angels in disguise I really do appreciate it. You guys really did make my year, you made my kids’ year, I can say despite the pandemic this is gonna be one of the greatest Christmases ever for me and for them,” said Moira to Ross and Lauren.

The boys said they’ll open some gifts early and save the rest for Christmas morning.

The Muellers have been doing this program for eight years.

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