One of Kiwanis Club of Allentown Signature Projects

On December 16 our club hosted its 16th Annual Lehigh Valley Children’s Centers (LVCC) Christmas Party at the Judith Chase Early Learning Center (ELC) in Allentown. We have come a long way from hosting our first party for LVCC pre-school children on December 7, 2006. At that time, it was limited to just the Walnut Street Center, and was held at the Allentown Brew Works ballroom. Only 19 children participated. This year, 102 children from three LVCC centers – ELC, Walnut Street and South Mountain attended the party. For the past several years, the party was held at the South Mountain Center. This year it was moved to ELC for a number of reasons. Alliance Hall, where ELC is located, has a large gymnasium where all of the children’s activities could take place. It also features a commercial kitchen to prepare food for the party and an elevator to transport it. The venue worked out perfectly!

Earlier in the week, Enos and Susan Martin picked up over 300 toys from the Toys for Tots warehouse outside Northampton and later dropped them off at ELC. Tom Harp picked up the food and dropped it off the same day. On the day of the party, volunteers arrived around 9:15 AM, including members Enos Martin, Terry Kennedy and Tom Harp. They were joined by Allen HS Key Club faculty advisors Mary DiFebo, Steve Patterson, and 8 members of the Key Club. Todd Siegfried arrived later with his good friend SANTA. Children from other centers arrived by bus and the activities began. They included candy cane beading, Christmas trees with star garland, paper books with Christmas stamps, magnet tile gingerbread houses, and a Christmas bowling/snowball toss.

Musical entertainment was provided throughout the party. Following the planned activities, lunch consisting of chicken nuggets, carrot sticks, cookies and box drinks was served to the children by our volunteers. After a break, Terry Kennedy led the children in a reading of “The Night Before Christmas.” This was a perfect lead-in to the children visiting, and having their pictures taken with, SANTA! Class by class Santa welcomed the kids with bellowing HO-HO-HO’s, and wishing them a Merry Christmas. After seeing Santa, the children boarded busses and returned to their classrooms, each with two new toys. It was a joyous occasion that brought the holiday spirit to not only the children, but to our volunteers as well!