200 Children Enjoy Breakfast with Santa
The successful event started with a group of young Rockaway women who wanted to do something for the children of the storm. They well remembered all the people who provided the love and support they received after 9/11 and the Belle Harbor crash of AA Flight 587 when they themselves were in elementary school.
With strong examples of community service groups like the Graybeards, Rockaway WISH, the Rockaway Irish Boys (RIBS) and the Rockaway Jetty very apparent, the women, ages 19-21, decided to help by hosting a “Breakfast with Santa.” They hoped to share with the community’s children the fond memories that they had of holiday seasons so many years ago.
Spearheaded by Tracey Greene and Tori Dresch, both students at FIT, the group planned and executed a beautiful and fun day for the children. There was ornament making, Christmas arts and crafts, music, dancing, delicious breakfast food and most importantly several gifts from a warm and welcoming Santa Claus.
The event was run totally on donations they were able to arrange through their schools, friends and families. The Knights of Columbus donated the space at their hall, which the young ladies turned into a winter wonderland.
DJ’s kept the children up, moving and excited and there was a dessert and candy bar that was child’s delight.
Boardwalk Bagels, Belle Harbor Bagels and other bagel shops in the area and Brooklyn donated the delicious food.
Said one woman, “We are Rockaway Artists Alliance kidsmART camp counselors, swim instructors, babysitters and lifeguards and these are our kids. We wanted to do something for them to make their holiday happy and give them an opportunity to see their friends who they might not have seen since the storm.”
With the help of the Graybeards, they were able to make significant donations of supplies to the areas nursery pre-K programs that were destroyed by Sandy.
Teachers of these programs were overwhelmed by their generosity and proud of these young adults. As one of the group’s mothers said, "This group of young ladies is just another example of Rockaway’s spirit of giving and service. Job well done.”