Gifts delivered as part of Antioch Police, Disney House “Help for the Holidays”

Kristine Barbanica knocks on the door as the other three “Santa’s Helpers,” Gary and Kristen Vistalli and Councilman Mike Barbanica arrive with wrapped, donated gifts and speak with one of the recipients, Isabella on Thursday, Dec. 21, 2023. Photos by Allen D. Payton

The annual effort benefited 125 families with 400 children this year

By Allen D. Payton

On Thursday, Dec. 21, 2023, owners of Antioch’s “Disney House”, Kristen and Gary Vistalli were joined by Councilman Mike Barbanica and his wife, Kristine, to deliver some of the gifts donated during the Help for the Holidays Event co-hosted by the Antioch Police Department on Dec. 9th.

The donations were received at the Vistallis’ home, which is decorated each year with over 35,000 lights and Disney characters. Their son Tyler and daughter Amanda helped with receiving the donated items, which also included blankets, gloves, socks, hats and scarves, as well as cash and Venmo donations. Kristen refers to the annual event as the “spirit and support drive, and gift giveaway”. (See related article)

Councilman Barbanica speaks with Isabella after he, his wife Christine, and Kristen and Gary Vistalli arrive with gifts on Dec. 21, 2023.

The gifts were delivered by the four Santa’s Helpers to two girls, 8-year-old Isabella and 15-year-old Veronica, at their aunt’s home where they now live because their mother recently passed away and the girls had nowhere else to go.

“They are having a rough time, and their aunt said the gifts would help,” Barbanica shared.
“We just wanted to come by and drop off these gifts to you,” he said after the gifts were placed under the family’s Christmas tree. “Hopefully this helps out for Christmas.”

“Thank you for everything,” their aunt Iris responded.

About being off school for the holiday break Isabella said, “It’s said. I like school. Because I like my friends and I like PE.”

Gary and Kristen Vistalli place some of the gifts under the family’s Christmas tree on Thursday, Dec. 21, 2023.

Regarding the toy drive, Disney house owner Kristen said, “This is the fourth year we did this with the Antioch Police Department. We switched to the drive-by during COVID which has worked out. It’s grown, every year.”

“To help over 125 families with 400 children, it’s just amazing and extremely rewarding,” she added.

This is the Vistallis’ first time delivering gifts to a family, meeting and speaking with them.

“We are extremely grateful to the community for their support and making this happen,” Kristen stated.

A few police officers were expected to participate in the gift delivery, but several were involved in a stolen vehicle pursuit at the time.

Photo by APD

You can still drive by and see the decorated Disney House in all it’s lighted glory this week at 3732 Colonial Court in Antioch

the attachments to this post:

Vistallis place gifts under tree 12-21-23

Vistallis and Barbanicas arrive with gifts & with Isabella 12-21-23

Barbanicas and Vistallis deliver gifts Isabella 12-21-23

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