An early Christmas for Dayton families
December 18, 2006
Dayton Community Center was brimming with holiday cheer and goodwill as the Dayton Kiwanis Club served breakfast to several hundred adults and children on hand to receive Christmas gifts and other necessities.
The Saturday morning event was the culmination of efforts by Healthy Communities Coalition to provide toy distribution, coats and clothing to Dayton children.
Parents were able to come in and shop for items for their children, while being served a complimentary pancake breakfast with all the trimmings.
Santa (aka Carl Miller) arrived on the fire engine and was greeted by enthusiastic children who then waited their turn to share their wishes and have their picture taken with him.
“I’ve helped in years past, so here I am,” said Denise Swanson of the Lyon County Recreation Department. “It’s been a lot of fun, and we got to go shopping, which was a blast. All I can say is that Wal-Mart really helped; they came through in a big way for these kids.”
With the community center filled to bursting, Dayton Court Judge Bill Rogers had practical concerns.
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“I’m very glad, frankly that Santa was delivered by the fire department,” he said. “Because I think we might be a person or two over what the (fire) code allows.
“As our community grows and our needs grow, we’ll soon be needing more room.”
Sporting a Kiwanis apron, volunteer Jack Gorden said that while he’s not a club member, he felt moved to support the day’s events.
“My wife, Jackie, and I learned about this at a Dayton meeting last week, and thought we should help,” he said. “We help with the bread bank with Carson Kruzers (they are 20-year members) and really enjoy volunteering.”
For the Healthy Communities Coalition staff and volunteers, it was a day of “controlled chaos,” met with lots of smiles and laughter as they worked feverishly behind the peg board which separated the breakfast/Santa/coat distribution area from Santa’s secret workshop.
“I know it looks crazy and chaotic back here,” said a smiling Bridget Thompson of the coalition. “But we’re organized, and when it’s done, we’ll be ready for a nap.”