Military kids enjoy Christmas party

By Annie Gentile - ReminderNews
Stafford - posted Wed., Dec. 11, 2013
Annibelle greets Santa with a big hug. Photos by Annie Gentile.
Annibelle greets Santa with a big hug. Photos by Annie Gentile.

It’s not always easy to make ends meet year-round, particularly for military families, so the holidays can be an especially difficult time - both emotionally and financially - for the families of those deployed.

For this reason, members of the Stafford and Somers American Legion Ladies Auxiliaries, the Stafford VFW, the Stafford Rotary, the Stafford AmVets and the Stafford Girl Scouts, along with supporters from local parent teacher organizations, businesses and the community at large threw a very special Military Kids' Christmas Party.

Held Sunday, Dec. 8, at the American Legion Post on Monson Road, the party included pizza and home-made desserts, candy, an arts and crafts session where children could make a variety of ornaments, Christmas music by D. J. Tyler Murray, and, most importantly, a visit from the big man in red - Santa Claus.

“Any family under deployment is likely having a tough time financially, let alone having money for extras, so we wanted to do something for them,” said Amelia Hinchliffe, secretary for the VFW Ladies Auxiliary. “The VFW Ladies Auxiliary recently reformed and we were looking for a project. A lot of our members belong to both the VFW and American Legion organizations, so this worked out well,” she said.

Hinchliffe added, however, that it is hard for the groups to reach out to families because they rely on those families to self-identify and a lot of times they find people are reluctant to share that they are going through hard times. “We hope that anyone who knows of a military family in town will reach out to us,” she said.

Kim Post, secretary for the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary, said this year’s Christmas party is the second year in a row the groups have held the party, and while last year they had eight children attend, this year 15 signed up, although a few had to back out due to other family obligations. She said they would love to have 20 to 30 children, and there is certainly room. “We got some incredibly generous donations of gifts and monetary amounts, and we’d like in the future to branch out to other towns and include perhaps not only the children, but grandchildren of military families,” she said.

As a result of the generosity of the community, each of the children who attended went home with six to eight gifts, and plenty of smiles.

“This is really about helping out kids and helping our veterans,” Hinchliffe said.


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