Thanks to Reaching-Out Community Services, it was all smiles for less fortunate children just in time for the holidays.
The non-profit organization held its 11th annual Operation Christmas Smiles, an event where children and families that are struggling financially have the opportunity to enjoy the season with toys, entertainment, food and holiday cheer.
On Saturday, December 17, at St. Mary Mother of Jesus Church community center, 2326 84th Street, over 600 children and families were in attendance to enjoy activities such as games, magic shows, face painters, a juggler, refreshments, a parade of classic Disney and Christmas characters and, of course, presents.
“It went great,” said Tom Neve, founder of Reaching-Out. “We were a little bit anxious about the snowstorm that was coming. But to our surprise the weather didn’t stop everyone. It was a full house that went wonderfully since the kids were excited. They are so happy to be a part of what happens here.”
This was the first of Reaching-Out’s Christmas events this year, and according to Neve, it was another success. Volunteers played a major role in making the holiday party a success, he said. “It took a staff of over 70 people to work the event, along with Bay Ridge Cares,” he explained. “The purpose of this event is to help families that are disadvantaged. It’s for children across all faiths. Children are children to us.
“What a great time for these children that are part of the Operation Christmas Smiles event,” Neve said. “We want to thank all of our sponsors who have made this possible and have donated toys. We are so thankful for you partnering with us to make this happen for children that are less fortunate.”
Sponsors for the event included the Rotary Club of Verrazano, the Tablet – DeSales Media Group, Project Hope New York, Investors Bank and more.