December 21st, 2013 / posted by paularath

Palama’s Santa and Mrs. Claus offer gifts for every child. Couldn’t get anyone to sit still!

One of my favorite holiday activities is volunteering at the Palama Settlement annual Community Christmas Party. Hundreds of families from our neighborhood turn up for the party. There is a gift for every child aged 0 to 12, Christmas cookies galore and fabulous giveaways including everything from bikes to bags of rice. This year there were also free vision tests for children and health and nutrition information.

My job is always to give out the tickets for the prize drawings. This year I had lots of help from my sister-in-law, Ginger Waters, and her daughter Lisa Hodges who is visiting from Cincinnati. It was really well organized thanks to our capable staff and Executive Director Wendy Abe.

This is just one little sliver of the crowd in the Palama gym, watching the fabulous entertainment and waiting to see if they won a prize.

Pre-Santa entertainment was provided by the Central Middle School band and they had an impressive repertoire of Christmas songs. In the gym, Palama’s Cultural Clubs provided outstanding entertainment.

The toys for all the children come from the Toys for Tots program. I spent a day wrapping them so I can tell you that they are really nice toys: footballs, model planes, Barbie dolls, craft projects in a box – all quality toys.

The Palama children never stop moving!

If you want to really get into the Christmas spirit, find a place to volunteer your time where children are being given gifts. It is so heart warming! Especially in an impoverished neighborhood where this could be the only gift they receive.

– Paula Rath

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