Warwick unites to help kids in need

Warwick unites to help kids in need

Photo by Wayne Patterson. Planning is in full gear for the annual Warwick Holiday Party for Children in Need. Among those organizing the Dec. 9 event at the Warwick Reformed Church are, left to right, front row: Chairpersons Claire Gabelmann and Tina Buck; top row, Doug Stage, Marge King-Porter, Pam Starer, Pamela Pyke, Eleanor Pyke, Erin Anderson and Shirley Puett.

An estimated 160 children and families will be served at this year’s holiday party, scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017

 — Another example of how the Warwick community unites to make a difference is the annual Holiday Project for Children in Need.

Warwick Valley Rotarians, Warwick Lions Club, Chosun Taekwondo Leadership Team, Backpack Snack Attack Program and Warwick Reformed Church plus many other businesses and individuals work together to create a memorable holiday for local families in need.

The committee works all year to put this event together. An estimated 160 children and families will be served at this year’s holiday party, scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 9, at the Warwick Reformed Church.

Back-to-back partiesAt two back-to-back parties “elf” volunteers escort small groups of children to the various stations which include: games with prizes, cookie decoration, professional portrait, photo with Santa and a holiday meal.

A “shop” with new donated gift items is the station kids love the most. They choose gifts for their families and then wrap them.

The “shopping” feature has roots to when Warwick Jaycees took about 30 children to local shops to choose gifts for their families. Warwick Lions took over and the event has grown over the years. Three years ago another local service club, Warwick Valley Rotary, joined the project, which has allowed more children to participate.

Santa presents all the children with giant gift bags filled with clothing, shoes, underwear, sox, hats, gloves and toys chosen just for them. A ShopRite gift card is also included. Transportation is provided as well.

Claire Gabelmann, Warwick’s 2016-2017 Citizen of the Year, coordinates the event for the Lions Club and Tina Buck is the Warwick Rotary event chair, assisted by Marge King-Porter.

$60 per child, $100 per familyMembers of the community sponsor the children by donating $60 per child, $100 per family or by shopping for a specific child and providing the items indicated. Other businesses and individuals donate new gift items, wrapping paper, pizza and desserts. Still others volunteer their time.

Student members of the Leadership Committee of Chosun Taekwondo Academy hold fund raisers to sponsor an average of 30 kids each year. The Warwick Historical Society provided the venue for the Book Sale fund raiser. These students also decorate and help set up for the party. High school members of the Rotary Interact Club wrap hundreds of gifts for the kids at a session held at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.

Transportation, photographyMembers of the Backpack Snack Attack Committee solicit applications and donate gift items and sponsor kids. The Alamo and Warwick Area Migrant Committee help fill out applications and provide transportation for guests. Jennifer Karon Photography provides a professional portrait for each child. Pictures with Santa are taken by Dragonfly Studio and Spadafina Photography. ShopRite of Warwick sends volunteers as well as donating a gift card that is used to purchase supplies.

Greenwood Lake and Florida Lions Clubs help out at the party and sponsor kids. Local pizza parlors and bakeries provide refreshments.

A generous Warwick couple is providing $25 ShopRite gift cards for each family.

Many more individuals and businesses contribute to the success of this event. Sponsors and donations are always needed to provide clothing, shoes and toys plus gift items for the “shop” where the children choose gifts for their families. Members of the community are invited to join in by volunteering or donating.

Essential informationTo contact the committee to offer help or for more information contact, Warwick Rotary at 845 987-7297 or warwickvalleyrotary.org; or Warwick Lions Club at (845) 986-1681 or warwickcares@gmail.com.