It felt a lot like Christmas at in Lynbrook on Saturday morning, where over 100 children ate breakfast while eagerly waiting for a very special guest.
That guest? Why, Santa Claus, of course. The big man with a sack full of toys heard the wishes of many at the third annual
“We do this event as a service, not as much as a fundraiser,” program organizer Julie O’Connell said. “It’s a nice way to get people from the community and the school together to start the holidays.”
At only $5 per person, the event allowed families of all sizes to partake in the holiday fun. All bagels were generously donated by .
“It’s not about making money,” O’Connell said. “It’s about providing the families with a service to see Santa and be together. What little money we make will be put towards the school.”
O’Connell, a mother of three, has been with the event from the beginning. She and Kerrie Habert take on the gargantuan task each year of making sure each of the two sessions go smoothly.
“We get more and more people wanting to come every single year,” O'Connell said. “It’s a lot of work but we have a lot of people who volunteer to help. There are people behind the scenes...We have wonderful volunteers that come together."
A good portion of those volunteers come from the school itself. Eighth graders, as part of their confirmation community service assignment, acted as Santa’s helpers. They assisted in handing out gift bags and guiding other children to and from Saint Nick.
The gift bags included a self addressed letter to Santa, giving children a chance to reinforce their Christmas wishes. Also included were bags of “reindeer sprinkle,” designed to attract Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve.
The morning also featured a giving tree. Adorned on the tree were ornaments with gift certificate ideas for those less fortunate. Through Our Lady of Peace’s parish social ministry, families can donate the items requested on the tree - giving the holiday that extra feeling of community togetherness.
Prior to Santa’s arrival, anxious children kept themselves busy by making cupcakes, coloring, and making ornaments.
Eight year old Madison Spanodemos was all smiles as she took a break from her hard work at the crafts tables.
“Today, I am helping with the tickets, the coloring table, and having a lot of fun,” she said.
Madison made sure to see Santa before she got back to work, asking him to bring her “movies” (specifically, Santa Paws).
Hopefully, he listens!
For more information on Our Lady of Peace, such as upcoming events and the school's monthly food collection, visit their website.