December 2, 2006, player Judy Van Buren could not remember how many years the Neal E. Fonger Unit No. 179 Auxiliary has given donations to the Santa Claus Girls, but what she knows for certain is where the money donated to the group comes from.
According to 68 year-old Van Buren, before the games started, they had no money. Each year, the group generates enough money to give to the non-profit organizations in the area, like the Mel Trotter Ministries and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The Santa Claus Girls gets $500 in donations. The Press-sponsored non-profit organizations, founded in 1908, have given gifts every holiday to poor children in the Kent County area.
According to Judy Holzgen, President of the 343 Strong Members Auxiliary, they always make sure that the group is included because they really care for the community, especially the children and youths. The Santa Claus Girls group aims to raise a total of $165,000 from bingo this Christmas so that they can give gifts to almost 11,000 children, ages 6 months to 12 years old. Cheri Lopez, Van Buren's daughter, said that presents really makes a child's day happy and complete. 43 year-old Lopez also remembers working in the kitchen of the Santa Claus Girls when she was a teen.
Lopez added that she also remembers that one of the recipients of the gifts was a single mother whose children would not have received a thing if not for the gifts given by the Santa Claus Girls. It's always heartwarming to hear and see that you have done something good for these people. Van Buren added that she has found the group to be honest and trustworthy in all of their dealings and that the community has always benefited from their activities.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006