Kids and families came out in droves to celebrate the joy of the holidays and a great time with Santa as they gathered for a Winter Wonderland event sponsored by the Kings Plaza-Canarsie Kiwanis Club at the St. Thomas Aquinas gymnasium, 1501 Hendrickson Street, on Friday, December 8th.
In its second year, the free event for children ages 3-12 began as an afternoon at the movies, set up by Matrix owner Robert Rodney with Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas and other holiday cartoons. To go with the entertainment, about 100 kids were treated to hot dogs, snacks and beverages, handed out by Executive Director of Millennium Development Paul Curiale and his volunteers.
Then, the real fun and smiles began when jingle bells and holiday music announced the arrival of Santa. The kids yelled “Merry Christmas” to Santa, then lined up to take pictures and receive a present from Santa and his elf, with many giving him a hug before proceeding to Candyland to get gift bags and candy.
Kiwanis Club Secretary Mark Pohl helped organize and manage the event. St. Thomas Aquinas’ Father Dwayne Davis provided the venue and over a dozen volunteers from his youth group. Glamaris Leon delivered the toys donated by TD Bank and Richard Schweid was Santa for a day with the help of his elf, Kiwanis Club president Veronica Daniele.
The Kings Plaza-Canarsie Kiwanis Club encompasses the Kings Plaza area, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach and Canarsie. All the Kiwanis members who participated worked together as a community geared toward children to make a memorable day for them that will last a lifetime.
“They had a good time,” Lara Soto, who came with her family, said. “My son’s smile with Santa said it all.”