Mr. and Mrs. Claus kicked off C.H.E.S.S.’s first annual “Breakfast with Santa” that included grits, eggs, sausage and bacon, and a room full of toys for the more than 120 guests at the Hope Community Center on Saturday, December 14th.
C.H.E.S.S. volunteers were Santa’s helpers, having worked hard earlier in the year to get toys for all ages, including his and her bikes, and have them ready for the big day.
The day began with an impressive entrance from Mr. and Mrs. Claus (also known as Johnny Campbell and Thelma Maiben Owens) who visited the Hope Center and stopped in at the basketball tournament that was going on that day. Everyone was happy to see them, taking pictures and waving at the unexpected guests
Then they moved into the reception area to meet the Africatown residents who had been invited to the breakfast. They spread holiday joy across the room, takingook many pictures with babies, children and adults alike,
Activities of the day also included Dena Pollard, who read Santa Claus, The World’s Number One Toy Expert and ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas while the volunteers prepared the breakfast.
After breakfast, the helpers held a raffle for the girls and boys bikes. The lucky winners included: Jazlyn Dees, Triston Hughes, Aubree Kyles and Jamelle Henry.
Children at the breakfast, at the gym and in the neighborhood were invited to pick a toy of their choice, courtesy of C.H.E.S.S. and its supporters who donated bikes, toys and funds to the event.
Sponsors included: Angela Walker, manager at WhatABurger who is also an Africatown native from Magazine Point; The Clotilda Descendants Association; Douglas and Johnny July; Natasha Pollard and Benard Knight.
C.H.E.S.S. also thanks cook Patricia Docks, photographer Norman Cox for also taking pictures, and DJ Frog for spinning holiday cheer with music.
Finally C.H.E.S.S. gives a huge shout out to Community Research Officer La’Miya Packer, the secret Santa shopper who secure most of the toys, and to Community Outreach Officer Joycelyn Davis.
C.H.E.S.S. President Joe Womack acknowledged that none of the days success would have been possible
without the hands and hearts of the volunteers who put in countless hours to make sure the organization had its first holiday party.
“They all did an excellent job. And to have so many people at our first Christmas event is really special. We can hardly wait to do it again. next year,” he said.