Rotarians make holidays merrier for children

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Little ones enjoyed visiting with Santa at the annual Rotary Christmas party made possible by funds raised at the community-supported reverse raffle.

By KATIE JUSTICE, kjustice@clickthepaper.com

Braselton Mayor Bill Orr announced that a special guest was expected to arrive at the West Jackson Primary School cafeteria just before 7 p.m. on Dec. 18.

According to Orr, Santa Claus had heard of a special gathering at the school and was going to make an appearance.

Despite school having ended for winter break earlier that day, nearly 90 children were milling around the room. The children and their families were guests at a Christmas party hosted by the Rotary Club of Braselton.

More than 30 areas families in need were given the opportunity to experience the magic of Christmas including a visit with Santa, gifts and a holiday celebration.

An estimated $18,000 raised by the Rotary Club at its Nov. 9 reverse raffle was used provide Christmas for area families in need.

The money was used to purchase items on each child’s Christmas list. Items included clothes such as winter coats and shoes and toys.

The families, chosen in conjunction with Family Connection, were then invited to Christmas party. The party, hosted by the Rotary Club, gave the families a chance to enjoy holiday festivities. Pizza from Corelone’s, cookies provided by Subway in Braselton and beverages supplied by Publix was enjoyed.

As the kids enjoyed a magic show and got a chance to sit and have their photos made with Santa, parents were assisted in loading bags of wrapped gifts into their vehicles to go under the tree on Christmas morning. Families were able to take home portraits with Santa.

Some families were also given food collected by the students of Braselton Christian Academy, an effort coordinated by Rotarian and academy director Penney Smith.

For mom Stacy King, the best part is the caring and the giving.

“You’ve got people giving that can afford to give to people less fortunate than them,” said King.

However, the undeniable favorite part of the evening for the kids was the face painting. Nearly every child sported a reindeer or Santa painted face with a few exceptions having a Christmas tree or angel. The face painting line remained one of the longest until the end of the evening.

“I like watching the kids get to do what they like to do, that’s my favorite part,” said Michelle Buffington.

Rotary Christmas Party for Kids

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