Reaching-Out gives Christmas cheer to community children in need

Southwest Brooklyn came together under the direction of Reaching-Out Community Services on Saturday, December 16, spreading some holiday cheer to underprivileged children in the community.

Reaching-Out, a non-profit organization headquartered in the heart of Bensonhurst, hosted its 12th Annual Operation Christmas Smiles Spectacular Event at St. Mary, Mother of Jesus Church Community Center (2311 85th Street). The main purpose of the event was simple: to further the group’s goal of giving around 900 low-income children in the Southwest Brooklyn community Christmas gifts.

“The highlight is it makes wrongs rights. When you have struggling families who can’t even put food on their table and you have the struggle of  ‘how can I have my child experience what everyone else experiences?’ I like to see that we have made a way for them,” explained Thomas Neve, executive director of Reaching-Out.

“It’s a way to celebrate the holiday with everyone else. I appreciate seeing that child with a smile on their face,” he continued.

Neve, who officially founded Reaching-Out in 1992, said that although his organization is responsible for orchestrating the event, it is really the community that makes it a success.

A wide array of organizations, including the 68th Precinct Community Council, Dyker Heights Civic Association, Rotary Club of Verrazano, several high school key clubs and The Tablet, a Catholic newspaper published by the Diocese of Brooklyn, came together to contribute to the event, whether through sponsorship or simply lending a hand.

“It shouldn’t fall on me, it should fall on everybody. It’s a great thing that’s being done and I might orchestrate it, but it’s everyone else that makes it happen,” said Neve. “Together we can achieve more. I’m glad that everyone has been able to participate and keep the good going.

A similar, smaller event will take place on Saturday, December 23. Those interested in donating to Reaching-Out may do so at

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