AFRICATOWN’s “Breakfast with Santa 2023” brings out the smiles
For the fifth straight year, there was standing room only as Africatown’s C.H.E.S.S. community environmental organization held its annual Breakfast With Santa Christmas event distributing free toys to all under the age of 14 along with a healthy breakfast to everyone in attendance. Due to a scheduling conflict at the Hope Community Center, This years event was held at The Women’s Federation Club off St. Stephens Road. However, due to the goodwill and following that event coordinator, LaMiya Packer, and her team has established over the years, everyone simply followed them to the Women’s Club. In addition, they added some more to their list of followers.
The event started at 10:30 and I arrived about 11:15. I met LaMiya at the door as I was entering and ask, “how is it looking”, to which she answered, “standing room only”. One of the hardest working people that I saw was Pastor Christopher Williams who passed by me 5 times before we had a chance to speak. Another touching moment occurred as people were walking towards the front to pick up their toys. One parent was sitting on the side with a twin in each arm that seemed to be about 6 months old. Ms. Teresa Williams (Pastor Williams wife) walked over to her to let her know that she could go up to pick out some toys. The woman looked at the twins and Ms. Williams said, “just stay where you are and I will get some toys for you”. Five minutes later she returned with at least eight toys, four for each child. The young lady said thank you and smiled as they both walked towards the car with the toys.
Those are the types of fond memories I have about the Africatown Community I grew up in during the 50’s and 60’s. Everyone helped everyone else. On Christmas Day we would get up at 5 am and play with toys. Our parents would get up at 9 and breakfast was at 10. At eleven we would go out and play the rest of the day. The next day we would visit our relatives in the community and get more presents (and food) from them. What a wonderful time of the year.
Congratulations to LaMiya Packer and her family and friends who have taken on the task of putting on this event and has “owned it” and made it a very special community project. LaMiya’s team consist of SANTA-Trevin Grove, GRINCH-Charlie Walker, SANTA’s HELPERS- Tracy Packer, Percy Packer, Lamikhail Harris, Felice Harris, Rhonda Burrough, Malika Howard, STORY TELLER-Latasha Burrell, FACE PAINTING-Kaylaan, COOKS-Juanita Miskell & Ms. Cherre, PHOTOGRAPHER-Margaret Robinson, DISC JOCKEY- Darnell Grimes. Others pitching in to help out include: Pastor & Mrs. Christopher Williams, Chiquitta Howard, Joycelyn Davis, Ruth Ballard and Carlos Knight.