There is no getting over it, there is nothing like the smile on the face of a child at Christmas time, especially when he or she unwraps a gift. On Wednesday evening, the 14th Street Community Center hosted an event with toys and food, replete with Santa Claus.
“I’m from the community and we know the culture of our community and they do need help,” Maxine Malone, director of the 14th Street Community Center, said. “We’ll have about 150 children tonight. We’ve been very busy all week. Christy Gambill who worked for Fluor-Bechtel out there (DOE site in Piketon), came and did toys for tots and we have over 100 families that they distribute to the different organizations in the community.”
Joseph Parker is a big dude and a member of the semi-pro football team, the Portsmouth Stealth, but one of the biggest things about his Wednesday evening was his smile.
“We went out and got arts and crafts. One of our players purchased $200 worth of toys,” Parker said. “We had a thing for Halloween and we decided we wanted to do one for Christmas, and maybe get some toys out there to some kids who are less fortunate.”
Parker said Southern Ohio Medical Center’s participation was a major part of their donation effort, and being a part of the community inspired him to participate.
“I was born and raised out here,” Parker said. “So I’m all for whatever I can do to contribute. It might not be much but it’s something.”
Pajah Williams was one of the volunteers who kept busy throughout the evening to make sure all the children had a good time.
“This is just a little activity for the kids,” Williams said. “Basically just some singing and some dancing going on. They prepared a nice meal for them as well.”
Faces were all aglow as the children gathered around the Christmas tree and awaited the arrival of Santa Claus.
“It’s certainly exciting to see the smile on their face,” Parker said.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.