The American Legion Post 25 in Washington C.H. held its annual “Needy Kids Christmas Party” on Wednesday and the chairman took time to thank the many volunteers who made it possible.
According to Elaine Stalsworth, third-year Needy Kids Christmas Party chairman, the Christmas party was started by Dr. Pfersick in 1954 to give economically disadvantaged Fayette County children from 5- to 7-years-old a “magical” Christmas experience.” Hosted by the American Legion and supported by donations from the community, the time-honored tradition celebrated 63 years on Wednesday with 300 children in attendance.
“The children come in and enjoy a lunch,” Stalsworth said. “They see a magic show, they get to see Santa Claus and then they pick up a 20-dollar toy, a goody bag, a hat, gloves and a pair of socks. The whole event is fun. Eddie Fisher was Santa Claus this year and a big thank you to him for doing that.”
This year, Stalsworth said, thanks to a good committee they were able to purchase and give out around $4,000 worth of toys. This doesn’t include the hats, gloves and 150 total $20 vouchers for students to be able to go and purchase clothes from Walmart. Stalsworth said she is hoping to increase these numbers next year to help support the youth of Fayette County even more.
“When people ask what they are donating for, we want to show them all that we do for the kids,” Stalsworth said. “We are hoping to be getting bigger grants next year and then we should be able to give more money to the schools for kids to purchase clothing. We believe that all students should have access to clothes, coats, shoes and other things.”
Stalsworth took time to thank a variety of volunteers and other locals who have helped to keep the party going. She started by thanking Dean Merritt, a member of the American Legion. He has volunteered time in organizing the toy collection and has helped in many ways for the event over the years. She said he has been there for the background tasks that are not thought much about, but are very important and he handled them all really well. Donna Fenton was also thanked by Stalsworth. She said Fenton was a valuable volunteer this year.
Additionally, Stalsworth said a “Thank you,” to her Needy Kids Christmas Party Committee for their hard work in helping to hold the event. Penny Wheaton, Kimberly Roberts, Dinita McFadden, Garnett Greenly, Pam Wilt, Pat Payne and Bill Holley were all instrumental in preparing the party. She also thanked Tim and Chris Maggard from Maggard’s Nursery, Court House Rental for donating tables and chairs, Jesse Bolen with Bolen Construction, out of Sabina, who brought his crew in to work at the party, Kroger for donating ice cream cups and the Fayette County Health Department.
“Children are our future,” Stalsworth said. “If we can give some of these disadvantaged children a positive experience it will lead to a positive future for them.”
Stalsworth said she will be accepting donations for next year’s party. Donations can be sent to the American Legion Post 25, 1240 US Highway 22 NW, Washington Court House, Ohio 43160. Checks can be made out to the Needy Kids Christmas Fund.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartTheNewsGuy