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Santa brings toys, smiles

LAUREN WOOD | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Kvian Smith, 3, shakes Santa Claus’ hand as he and his mother, Sharlotte Dotson, walk by during the annual Children’s Christmas Tree Fund toy giveaway Monday morning at Braden School auditorium.

NATCHEZ — Eight-year-old Keniesha Julian smiled as she hugged Santa, and that smile didn’t leave her face as she walked off the stage and tore through her

LAUREN WOOD \ THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — De’Nya Ware, 3, gives Santa Claus a hug Monday morning during the Children’s Christmas Tree Fund toy giveaway. More than 450 bags were prepared to give to children in the community on Christmas Eve.

presents Monday at Braden School.

“Look mommy,” she said. “I got a keyboard.”

Julian was among the hundreds of children and parents packed into Braden School Auditorium Monday morning to receive presents from the Santa Claus Committee. The committee overseas the toy giveaway, which is funded by the Children’s Christmas Tree Fund. Names of needy children are submitted by Catholic

Charities.

Approximately 450 bags of gifts, filled with toys and candy, were handed out.

Caroline McDonough, who helped organize the event and did the majority of the toy purchasing for the Children’s Christmas Tree Fund, said she enjoys helping others.

“When I see the little kids faces get excited, it’s worth every bit of the work,” McDonough said, tearing up. “It is about helping others. I don’t like to see people without.”

For Wendy Williams, Julian’s mother, seeing her children have a happy holiday means the world to her.

“I’m glad they’re happy for Christmas,” Williams said. “They can’t wait for the holidays.”

As Santa made his way down the aisle, children jumped in their seats, waving ecstatically.

Charlotte Dotson, 3-year-old Kvian Smith’s mother, said her son couldn’t wait for Santa to come out.

“He was very excited,” Dotson said. “He was like, ‘Momma, let’s go.’ As long as he’s happy, that’s all I need.”

For Steve Newman, who filled in as the Natchez Santa this year while the real big guy traveled the globe, being on the Santa Claus Committee for 10 years is all

LAUREN WOOD / THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Santa Claus hugs Marianna Buck, 4, during the Children’s Christmas Tree Fund toy giveaway.

about the children.

“It’s wonderful,” Newman said. “It’s one of the best days of my life to help all these children.”

 

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