Holiday parties bring gifts and joy
Children at two Springfield Housing Authority developments celebrated the holidays with gifts, laughter and strong community, thanks to two special donors.
At Robinson Gardens Apartments, families had a visit from Santa Claus, with a wrapped gift for each child, courtesy of a generous neighbor, Pine Point Community Council. Children and parents arrived with holiday spirit in full swing, happy to meet the star visitor and grateful for the gifts.
“We had a wonderful Christmas party here,” said Lynne Cimino, outreach coordinator for SHA’s family-based early literacy program, Talk/Read/Succeed! “Robinson Garden families are most grateful for our friends at the Pine Point council.”
At Sullivan Apartments, longtime holiday benefactor Amy Kimball, who for many years has organized friends, family and generous givers to ensure that children and families have warm winters and happy holidays.
This year, Kimball gathered enough donations so that two families – those of Yolanda Gonzalez Rivera and her adult daughter Yahaira Gonzalez – received gifts and winter clothing items just before Christmas arrived. The gifts for both made enough for a complete holiday celebration for all.
In addition to that were gifts, hats, mittens and blankets for a few dozen families who attended a festive holiday party at the Community Center at Sullivan. More gifts and winter clothing items were dropped off on New Year’s Eve as part of the annual collection drive.
“This makes a big difference during the holidays, for our families and children who received the gifts,” noted Zenaida Burgos, a program coordinator of Talk/Read/Succeed!, SHA’s family-focused early literacy program. “I can’t thank them enough for thinking about Sullivan and for the children in our after school program. They are truly a blessing to the families that we serve.”
SHA Executive Director Denise Jordan also offered thanks to the organizations and people who helped make the holidays special at Robinson Gardens and Sullivan, as well as other developments across the city, serving families, seniors and people with handicaps.
“We are very grateful to all the organizations and people who helped our families enjoy the holidays more than they otherwise could have,” Jordan said. “Pine Point Community Council and Amy Kimball made a big difference to our families at Robinson Gardens and Sullivan.
Both Robinson Gardens and Sullivan are home to T/R/S! programs, which includes staff and resources aimed at ensuring that children do well in school and eventually, in their lives. Many of the programs are aimed at entire families, and there are partnerships with neighbor elementary schools for stronger connections. Another T/R/S! partner is Duggan Park Apartments, where Santa Claus also paid a visit with gifts, courtesy of the local non-profit organization I Found a Light.
Families who participated in the events expressed gratitude and happiness.
“This is so great,” said Linoshka Colon, who attended the event at Sullivan with here three young children. Each had a gift, a blanket, and a big smile to show their joy.
“The kids are really enjoying this. It makes a big difference for us,” she added.
At Robinson Gardens, Yalixia Figueroa and her three young children waited for gifts and a visit with Santa Claus – all courtesy of the Pine Point Community Council.
“I like this idea,” Figueroa said. “It’s so nice for the kids. We all really appreciate it.”
The Pine Point Community Council sent over 110 gifts, wrapped and coded for gender and age, along with Kyle Burns as Santa Claus, who met with each family. They also came with hot chocolate and snacks.
Pine Point Council Secretary Mary Kober noted that the group has partnered with Robinson Gardens over the years to help families who are in need.
“They’re our neighbors in Pine Point, and we’re always willing to help out,” Kober said.
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