Tree fund brings children a visit from Santa

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 23, 2000

April Arnold, 8, and her 1-year-old brother, Dallas Arnold, dug through gift bags that were bigger than Dallas himself, their eyes full of anticipation for what they would receive.

&uot;This is just so nice,&uot;&160;said their mother, Phyllis Arnold. &uot;With all the bills that come due this time of year, a lot of people don’t have enough money for a good Christmas. Something like this certainly helps.&uot;

April, Dallas and hundreds of other area children got to experience the joy of meeting Santa – and received bags full of toys to boot – at the old Braden School building Saturday, thanks to the Children’s Christmas Tree Fund.

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Each Christmas since the turn of the century, the fund has given bags of gifts to needy children whose names are forwarded to the fund by Catholic Charities.

The Santa Claus Committee, a volunteer group, raises money and buys toys for the annual distribution event.

As their names were called by Adams County Sheriff Tommy Ferrell, the children stood in line by age and gender – accompanied by their parents or guardians – to take bags handed out by fund volunteers.

&uot;They can’t wait for the toys,&uot; Georgia Frazier said as she waited for her two grandchildren to hear their names called.

Each child received a handful of candy as he made his way up to the Braden auditorium stage, past a nine-foot-tall Christmas tree, to get a hug from Santa and receive gifts from members of the Santa Claus Committee and their families.

Other members of the committee, such as Charlie Blaney of Vidalia, stood around the perimeter of the auditorium, smiling from ear to ear as the children marched by them, their arms full of toys.

&uot;Most people think that parading through town is all there is to this event, but there’s a lot more to it than that,&uot; Blaney said.

He was referring to a morning-long parade that traditionally precedes gift distribution. But, he added, &uot;the best part takes place right here.&uot;