The Lions Club District 20K2 of Nassau-Bermuda held its annual children’s Holiday party on Dec. 5 at the Brookside School with a change from year’s past. With a focus on keeping attendees safe, this year’s Polar Express Holiday party was transformed into Santa's Winter Workshop Walk Through.
More than 325 children and their families were guided through an outdoor area where volunteers at the tables helped them gather prepackaged grab-and-go gifts of toys, coats, food, books and other surprises.
“The event is free and offered by invitation-only, as the Lions worked with Nassau County social services, elementary schools, charities and houses of worship to invite local families that are in need this holiday season,” explained Nina Lanci, a long-time Lion, past district governor and board of education trustee.
In the past, this event has helped as many as 700 families in need and was the highlight of the year for the Lions of Nassau-Bermuda District 20K2, especially the Lions Club of Bellmore which has been the backbone of the event for the past several years under the guidance of Lanci, the event’s chairperson.
"Although this event may look a bit different this year due to the health and safety regulations in regard to the pandemic, the joy and the excitement remains the same for both the children and the volunteers who help," added Lanci. "There is nothing as touching as seeing a child's eyes light up and watch them smile at the sight of the beautiful toys and gifts they receive at this event. For many families that are struggling, especially this year, this event really brings the meaning of the holiday straight to the heart."
Community partners included schools in the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School and North Bellmore Union Free School District, the Mepham Leo Club, the C.H.A.M.P. program at Kennedy High School, the Bellmore-Merrick Community Cupboard and the North Bellmore United Teachers organization.