A good 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 long to put this event together. An estimated 160 children and families will be served at this year’s holiday party, scheduled for Sat., Dec. 9, at the Warwick Reformed Church. At 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, 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.
Members 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 fundraisers to sponsor an average of 30 kids each year. The Warwick Historical Society provided the venue for the Book Sale fundraiser. 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.
Members 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. The Greenwood Lake and the 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.
To contact the committee to offer help or for more information contact the Warwick Rotary at 987-7297 or visit www.warwickvalleyrotary.org; or call the Warwick Lions Club at 986-1681 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.