VFW Auxiliary provides Christmas party for children
Two Santas meet across the table as Skylar Green dons his hat.
Thirty-seven kids attended the Christmas party at the Veterans of Foreign Wars post home in Walnutport. The auxiliary provides the party for the kids and grandkids of members.
Karen Bandzi, president of the ladies auxiliary to the R.W. Fritzinger VFW Post 7215, Walnutport, said the auxiliary has 62 members but the veterans and community members contribute to the success of the party. Hot dogs were provided by Thomson Meat Market and drinks by Zimmerman's Dairy.
Other events throughout the year are an Easter egg hunt for kids and a Patriotic Pen dinner for Northampton Middle School students who write essays. There are between 100 and 300 essays entered each year. Five winners go on to the district 20 contest. Last year the post had a first and fourth place winner at districts. They do poppy drives throughout the year and recently adopted a fifth military unit in the Mid-East. Three-hundred care packages have been sent.
The VFW has 300 members counting both social and active members, said Commander Bruce Jones. It also adopts military units and shipped 27 boxes of items such as toiletries, fruit and magazines for both men and women. He said it cost $700 to ship the supplies.
He said the repeated deployments are not fair. When he went to Vietnam he knew he would be home to stay in a year.
Jones said they visit the veterans at Wilkes-Barre Veterans Hospital and will go there on Christmas day.
"We are here for the veterans," he said. If families of veterans need help the VFW tries to provide that help.
Cheers greeted Santa Claus as he made his entrance. He immediately moved around the room handing out treats of candy bracelets and candy canes. Then he took his seat beside the Christmas tree.
After wishes were passed on to the man in red, he handed out packages from the auxiliary. Each child received at least three major gifts
Karen Bandzi said she is in charge of shopping for more than 100 gifts but other auxiliary members help shop. Michele Minnich and Diane Smith head the wrapping crew.
Minnich said she had been there every day the week before the party. She said the shopping was fun.
Harvey Seyfried said he wraps them quickly with only three pieces of tape even though Bandzi wants them wrapped carefully.
As Santa goes to the rear of the room Katlyn Kresge, eating lunch at a table, says, "Santa, I love you." Another child asks Santa to open her packet of markers. Each child got large coloring books and markers donated by Crayola.
Logan Rhodes warns Santa that her family ate all the cookies and there will not be any left out for him.