Holiday Giving Party

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This year will mark our club’s 17th Annual Holiday Giving Party benefiting families of Family Outreach of Amherst (FOA). In 2000 Past President Andy Beall had a dream which became reality when we hosted the first Annual Rotary Club of Amherst’s Holiday Giving Party for local underprivileged children.  It was Andy’s dream to provide a special evening for the children and their families to include a holiday meal, entertainment and gifts from Santa.  For many of the children, the gifts they receive from our party are the only holiday gifts they will receive.  In the early years of hosting the event, members of the club prepared the meal and the event was held in a local hall decorated with balloons.  We have been fortunate in the past several years to be able to work with the Courtyard by Marriott and hold our event there. The club sponsors 45 children and their families.  Each year FAO case workers work with the families to prepare a wish list for each child with their hearts desire. Rotarians sign up to sponsor a child and shop from the wish list with a $50.00 budget per child.  Rotarians work alongside each other the night of the party to serve our guests a wonderful turkey dinner.  Each family receives a $50.00 Big Y gift card. The Dynamics, a UMASS Acapella Group, has provided the entertainment for the families before Santa arrives.  Ed Popielarczyk, a local balloon artist entertains and creates balloon creations for each of the children. The bags of wrapped gifts are presented to each of the children by Santa and they are each given a photo taken with Santa.  PVTA generously provides a bus & driver to transport the families to & from the party.  The evening leaves all involved with the true spirit of the holiday and a sense of helping to make a difference for those less fortunate in our community.  The 2018 Holiday Giving Party will be held Monday, December 3.rd at Courtyard by Marriott, Hadley from 5:30-7:30 PM.