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Reaching-Out brightens Christmas for low-income children

It was all smiles as Reaching-Out Community Service held its eighth annual Operation Christmas Smiles Party on December 21 at St. Mary, Mother of Jesus Church. The celebration, which started at 11 a.m., was dedicated to spreading holiday cheer to children from low income families.

Santa Claus showed up at the church and gave out toys to the 600-plus kids who attended. Other activities included face painting, magic shows, arcade games, and arts and crafts. Also in attendance were balloonists, Mickey Mouse and several other mascots.

The gifts that children received during the party were made possible by a toy drive organized by Reaching-Out. Donation sites were set up across southwest Brooklyn. Additional items from the drive went to Fort Hamilton Army base. The Home Reporter and Brooklyn Spectator helped by holding its own drive, donating the proceeds to the nonprofit organization.

“The event was a great success. The children had a blast,” said Tom Neve, founder of Reaching Out. Although he was the organizer of the day of good will, Neve received a lot of help from his dedicated team.

“Kimberly Fasano helped coordinate and delegate much of the activities at the event. She is a powerhouse,” Neve explained. Kim’s mom Caroline Fasano, Neve’s brother Tony, Radame Lopez and Amuary Aderu also made significant contributions to the party, along with well over 80 additional volunteers.

The following day, Reaching-Out continued the holiday cheer with Santa on Wheels, an outdoor event in which Neve, Santa and company visited areas in Coney Island and Canarsie affected by Superstorm Sandy to hand-deliver toys. Around 300 children benefited from the toy delivery. “This year, we are able to put smiles on the faces of over 950 children,” said Neve.

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