Out of 1003 children, come on, Santa, there must have been at least one child on the naughty list! Nope, all 1003 children in attendance at the Rise Holiday Party were treated to the best Santa had to offer. First, Santa arranged for the perfect winter wonderland of weather… “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow” was all he said and it did, setting the stage for the upcoming festivities. Then there were photo ops with Santa and shining children decked out in their Sunday finest. Between snacks galore, arts and crafts and face painting fun, children were invited to visit the writing table where they were able to compose messages of thanks to American soldiers and offer wishes for good cheer, prayer and encouragement.
Sadly, after the bash, Santa had to be off, lots of territory to be covered… but not before Santa, the Rise family and the community offered a humble thanks to the generous corporate, small businesses and individual donors who turned their time, money and energy into the creation of a lifetime memory for 1003 deserving children. Talk about a gift….
By Lea Kahn, Staff Writer | Updated
Christmas came a few days early – 16 days, to be exact – as Rise, A Community Service Partnership, held its annual holiday party Dec. 9 at the Melvin H. Kreps Middle School on Kent Lane.
About 750 children of the 1,000 who registered for the party attended the event, said Leslie Koppel, the executive director of Rise. The non-profit group provides social support services and other programs to help low-income families in the Hightstown Borough-East Windsor Township area.
“The holiday party brings the community together,” Koppel said. “It helps to relieve stress for families that struggle. It’s fun and the children have a good time.”
The families of many of the children who attended the holiday party use Rise’s food pantry and other offerings, Koppel said. Rise offers a thrift store, a gently-used furniture store and a summer camp program, among its offerings.
But all of that was put aside for a few hours, as the children and their families enjoyed the holiday party. There were games for the children, such as pin-the-tail-on-the-snowman. A child could have a photograph taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
The Greater Hightstown Juniorettes group was in charge of face-painting, Koppel said. The six volunteer “painters” painted holiday-themed images on the children – from candy canes to Christmas trees.
“No child walked out of there without some pictures on their hands or face,” Koppel said.
Although Rise had collected enough gifts for 1,000 children, many of the toys and games remained unclaimed at the end of the party. Those gifts are available at Rise’s main office at 116 N. Main Street (above 12 Farms) in Hightstown Borough, through Dec. 20, Monday through Thursday between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., and from 2 to 4 p.m.
To collect a gift, a family must show proof of income, plus a report card from the East Windsor Regional School District to prove that the young recipient is enrolled in the public school district.
“We had a lot of generous donors this year,” Koppel said. The gifts were intended for the community’s children, and Rise wants to see those gifts get into their hands, she said.
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Thank you to all our generous corporate, small business, houses of worship, schools and individual sponsors who made this event happen.
children and 29 families experienced joyous holidays from our Rice Holiday Gift Drive
famillies received Thanksgiving Baskets - complete with turkeys and all the trimmings
backpacks given to low-income youth at the start of school
VOLUNTEER Have time and wish to join the volunteers who make events like these happen or organize a drive at your company, agency, school or place of worship? contact 609-443-4464 or email: email@example.com for more information.
DONATE Have no time, but have a heart? Donate and help make this holiday memorable for children and families.