Huntington’s Boys and Girls Club kids get early Christmas gifts
HUNTINGTON - About 140 area children left the Boys and Girls Club on Tuesday evening with full stomachs and early Christmas gifts after the organization’s Christmas Dinner, which brings the Guyandotte and 14th Street clubs together annually for a holiday celebration.
The event has been going on since board President John Anderson has been involved, which has been around 50 years. He has served as board president for the past 13 years. He said the party gives the kids a sense of fellowship and exposes them to the kindness of others.
“They see what people give who want to support them and help them, and I’ve always had a feeling they’re the next generation we have, so we’ve got to take care of them and we’ve got to develop them,” Anderson said.
Anderson said his favorite part of the Christmas party is seeing all the smiles on the kids’ faces.
While the kids were chowing down on a Christmas dinner that included ham and macaroni and cheese, they were also gazing across the room at a huge, wall-to-wall pile of toys, which included 30 bicycles donated by Jeff’s Bike Shop and the rest donated by the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots and The Greenbrier resort, eyeing which ones they would pick when it was their turn to choose.
Corinne Turner, 9, said she already had hers picked out.
“I want the Monopoly game so I can play it with my family,” Corinne said.
The gifts were organized by age, and those who had good attendance and behavior for the year were at the front of the line to choose their gifts.
After most of the children had chosen a gift, Corinne was seen walking across the gymnasium clutching her shiny new Monopoly game to her chest.
“It’s probably some of the most rewarding and satisfying times that I could have to know these kids have this kind of Christmas, that they’re this excited, and the community came together to help our members have a Christmas like this one,” Executive Director Julia Trent said. “It just absolutely lets you know there are good people out there who care about kids.”
The Boys and Girls Club of Huntington serves between 70 and 100 children at the Guyandotte location and around 50 at the 14th Street West location. Membership at the club is $10 per year. Trent said because the clubs serve some of the most at-risk children in the area, the membership aims to also help the parents by giving the children a safe, warm place to go while they are at work.
“This club being here makes life a little bit better, not just for the kids, but the families as well,” Trent said.
The Boys and Girls Club of Huntington will hold its largest annual fundraiser, featuring Marshall University men’s basketball head coach Dan D’Antoni, on April 5, 2019.
Follow reporter Megan Osborne on Twitter and Facebook @megosborneHD.